Thousands of Argentines, including the top ranks of the current ruling administration attended a demonstration in Buenos Aires city to commemorate the one-year anniversary of AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s death.
A year ago on Monday, Nisman was found dead in his apartment in Puerto Madero from a single gunshot wound to the head, though speculation since remains rife as to how the man formerly tasked with investigating the 1994 AMIA bombing — the deadliest terror attack in Argentine history — met his end.
Minutes before the ceremony began, Nisman’s mother Sara Garfunkel greeted Vice-President Gabriela Michetti and Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, who confirmed the government’s commitment to bring justice to the AMIA victims and to relatives of the deceased prosecutor. Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta was also in attendance.
“Forty million Argentines want to know how did the gun (that killed Nisman) go off and who did it,” Ariel Cohen Sabban, the head of the DAIA Jewish organization, said amid strong applause from those in attendance.
“How is it possible that after one year of investigations we’re nowhere near (the truth)?” the DAIA leader went on. “We hope statements from intelligence agents may shed some light on this unfair death. We don’t want Nisman to become the 86th victim of the AMIA attack.”
The bombing at the Jewish community centre, which took place in 1994, left 85 dead and wounded more than 300.
Argentina's Under-Secretary of Human Rights Claudio Avruj, Radical (UCR) party senator Julio Cobos and Ambassadors Noah Mamet (United States) and Graf von Waldersee (Germany) were also in attendance. The rally started near 7pm with a minute of silence.
The daughter of the deceased prosecutor, Iara and Kala Nisman, who met with president Mauricio Macri at his Los Abrojos country house in Greater Buenos Aires on Sunday, sent a letter which was read by one of her aunts in which they expressed gratitude for the support and explained they wanted to commemorate the anniversary in private.
Minutes later, La Nación journalist Joaquín Morales Solá explained why he was convinced that Nisman was “murdered.” He was followed by Ricardo Sáenz, the prosecutor before the City’s Criminal Appeals Court and one of the organizers of the so-called 18F march organized a month after Nisman was found dead.
Organizers distributed candles which many held close to their bodies despite the January heat in Buenos Aires. PRO party officials were also seen holding white candles of different sizes.
The mobilization took place as Manuel Romero Victorica, the lawyer representing Nisman’s family, said his technical team had “enough evidence” to prove that his death was the result of a crime.
“We have scientific proof that no gunpowder residues were found in Nisman’s hands. The gun seized in the bathroom (of his Puerto Madero apartment) was examined, three tests were made, and the gun left gunshot residues. This means Nisman did not shoot,” Romero Victorica said.
The lawyer also questioned Viviana Fein, the prosecutor tasked with investigating Nisman’s death until last month, when she was removed from the case by Judge Fabiana Palmaghini.
Fein “had the preconceived idea that it was a suicide ... and pushed the investigation in that direction,” he said.
Mario Cimadevilla, the Argentine government official leading the so-called AMIA Unit, said Nisman’s death was “the result of the case he was trying to solve, the terrorist attack against the AMIA” in 1994.
Cimadevilla stressed that “starting December 10, we’re witnessing a new paradigm” where judges will be given “absolute freedom to investigate” and to ask for help from the Executive should they require it.
“We obviously want to know, a year after his death, if it was a suicide, a forced suicide or a murder, but we need to allow the judge to move forward with the investigation,” said Cimadevilla.