Thursday, June 17, 2021

ARGENTINA | 19-01-2019 09:48

Nisman’s death remains a mystery

The investigation into the Special Prosecutor’s death remains stalled as investigators pour over phone records and pursue a lead in Lebanon.

Four years since the death of AMIA Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman shocked the nation, the investigation into what actually happens remains stuck. A shroud of mystery seems to envelop everything that even comes near to the case, from a forensic investigation to the presence of murky characters.

Extraordinarily enough, investigators are still trying to piece together and analyse a suspicious number of phone calls and text messages that began on Saturday, January 17, involving different areas of the country’s intelligence agencies, the Executive Branch, Judiciary, Security Ministry, and Military Intelligence. Cell phones of high- ranking members of the Kirchnerite administration remain under scrutiny, as well as a large number of phones connected to certain directors of the former Secretaría de Inteligencia (Intelligence), rebranded after Nisman’s demise, whose time of death is estimated between Sunday, January 18 and the early hours of Monday.

Hundreds of cellular phones and Nextel devices assigned to former Intelligence directors Alberto Massino and Fernando Pocino are being analysed, as well as others under then chief spy Oscar Parrilli. Also involved is former Army Chief of Staff César Milani. Suspicious activity such as the activation of a large number of phones days prior to Nisman’s death, deactivated in the aftermath, called the attention of investigators, leading them to believe there was previous planning involved.

The prime suspect continues to be Diego Lagomarsino, Nisman’s IT specialist and an employee of the AMIA Prosecutor’s Office, despite none of his colleagues having ever seen him. Lagomarsino is indicted in the case as a necessary participant, having been the person who lent Nisman the Bersa calibre .22 handgun that shot the fateful bullet. Lagomarsino had originally testified that Nisman called him to ask him for the gun, but new revelations indicate it was the other way around, and that the WhatsApp messages were later deleted. Sources close to the investigation told Perfil “it is becoming increasingly clear Lagomarsino was not simply an IT specialist.” Nisman’s security attaché was also indicted for malfeasance, while two of them are also accused of being part of a cover up.

Under investigation is also the appearance of a charred corpse in the vicinity of the Le Parc tower in Puerto Madero neighborhood, where the Special Prosecutor lived and died. No direct connection has been established and the identity of the female couldn’t be confirmed given the state of her remains.

The case investigating the terrorist attack on the AMIA Jewish community center in 1994 has also remained stalled. A revolving door of prosecutors succeeded Nisman, and the only advances have come from forensic experts who identified the 85th victim, August Daniel Jesús, along with further confirmation of the vehicle used in the attack. Furthermore, a suspect who remains at large formerly identified as Samuel Salman elReda has been identified, and is believed to be in Lebanon, a country that is cooperating with the investigation.



Nisman’s murder commemorated in Israel

Yesterday marked four years since Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead by a bullet to the head in the bathroom of his apartment. News of his death, and the investigation that followed, sent shock waves through the nation.

The prosecutor had denounced then-president Cristina Kirchner, and other Kirchner administration officials, for covering up Iran’s involvement in the 1994 AMIA Jewish community center terrorist attack in Buenos Aires just four days earlier. Nisman was scheduled to testify for Congress the next day.

Israeli and Jewish leaders unveiled a plaque honouring Nisman at the Ben Shemen forest in central Israel on the anniversary. Yuli Edelstein, the speaker of the Israeli Knesset, led the ceremony yesterday morning. Edelstein recited the kaddish prayer and planted an olive tree beside the memorial plaque in Irael’s “Argentina-Israel Friendship Park.”

Nisman’s mother, Sara Garfunkel, was present. During the ceremony, she said “In some way, I needed this tribute to continue living.”

The key questions in Nisman’s case remain unanswered. There are no suspected assassins, and no conclusions as to whether Nisman was ordered to be killed by someone inside the government.


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