By Brittany Ziobron
On January 14, Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman were accused of covering up Iran’s alleged role in a 1994 terrorist attack.
They were accused by Alberto Nisman, who had been working on the case for more than ten years. Nisman was prepared to present his case against Kirchner but was found dead on January 18, only hours before Congress entered session. Protests began after the news of his death surfaced.
BBC News reports that the case Nisman investigated was the bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994 that is viewed as Argentina’s worst terrorist attack in history.
In the public center, the perpetrator detonated a van with over 600 pounds of explosives. The attack killed 85 and injured more than 300. Although it is rumored to have been sponsored by Iran, there is also speculation of a connection between the 1994 bombing and another at the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992, according to The Guardian. Although an investigation was carried out against more than a dozen suspects, a perpetrator has yet to be charged.
The case was officially closed in 2004, but Nisman continued to research the case until his death last month. Nisman was found on the ground of his home with a bullet in his head. Discrepancies about the nature of his death are a large issue in the investigation. Many suspect foul play although the apartment was locked. The two possibilities are a suicide or forced suicide. The ambiguity of evidence will prove difficult for the investigation of Nisman’s murder case and the bomb scandal.
According to the New York Times, Nisman found that the government of Argentina was in cooperation with Iran. The two nations were engaged in negotations for a deal to exchange oil for grain and meats. His documents also show that there was involvement of Iran through Hezbollah militants.
The posthumous search of Nisman’s apartment revealed a crumpled up arrest warrant for President Kirchner, Mr. Timerman, and other political leaders. However, Nisman’s chosen judge, Ariel Lijo, has deferred the case because of technicalities.
Despite the breach in the court proceedings, several movements have begun in Argentina in light of Nisman’s death. Inspired by the Je Suis Charlie campaign, Argentina’s Spanish equivalent, Yo Soy Nisman, has become a popular slogan. Nisman’s death sparked a movement for citizens to encourage the President Kirchner about the allegations of cooperating with a terrorist group, according to CNN.
The aftermath has also resulted in the dissolution of the entire intelligence branch of the government.