Why Was Jewish Argentine Prosecutor Alberto Nisman Shot Dead?


Alberto Nisman

On January 18, 2015, Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head, the day before he was scheduled to testify against president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. A new documentary, Los Abandonados, provides a tight summary of the events leading up to Nisman’s death and a damning portrait of a secretive Argentine government.

Two Kirchner administrations, Nisman alleged, had hidden a collusion between Iranian and Argentine centers of power, denying Iran’s involvement in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA, the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. He also suggested that Argentina may have been under pressure to resume a nuclear agreement with Iran, annulled in ‘89. Nestor Kirchner appointed Nisman to investigate in 2004, after the government was accused of “muddying” the search. But what Nisman found, Los Abandonados suggests, was all too clear: 300 hours of phone taps suggested that an Iranian Embassy insider was linked to the attack and that Cristina Kirchner had taken campaign contributions from Iran in exchange for silence.

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: Firemen and civilians walks over the rubble left after a bomb exploded at the Argentinian Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA in Spanish) in Buenos Aires, 18 July 1994. As arguments for the AMIA trail begin, 13 January 2004, the Active Memory association, formed by the victims' relatives of the 1994 attack, will hold the Argentine government responsible for it and also seek life imprisonment for just one of the accused - Carlos Telleldin. AFP PHOTO/ALI BURAFI (Photo credit should read ALI BURAFI/AFP/Getty Images)
In the weeks after Nisman’s death, the government official denied a possible homicide and thousands took to the streets to demand justice. Argentines are still not hopeful that there will be justice for Nisman, or that the truth about the AMIA bombing will out: “In a country where a prosecutor can be killed,” a colleague notes at the film’s conclusion, “anything can happen.”


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