The President of Argentina's Federal Criminal Appeals Court, Martín Irurzun, has ordered Judge Daniel Rafecas to take late AMIA special prosecutor’s complaint against President Cristina Fernández and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman for allegedly covering up Iranian officials suspected of attacking the AMIA Jewish community centre.
Confirming what had been rumored for several days, Federal Judge Ariel Lijo dropped Nisman’s complaint on Monday, and the case fell within Rafeca’s jurisdiction. However, since he was on leave from the courts, the docket had fell into the lap of deputy Sebastián Ramos, who also dropped the case.
Irurzun ruled that the complaint, which has been bouncing back and forward between Lijo’s and Rafecas’ courts, is to fall under Rafeca’s jurisdiction. The head of the Appeals Court stated that Rafecas is now to determine the course of the investigation.
Rafecas is to decide whether he asks for means of evidence, for the opinion of prosecutor Alberto Gentili –who has temporary replaced late Nisman in charge of the AMIA special unit-. He can also choose to reject the complaint in limine.
In related news San Isidro Federal Judge Sandra Arroyo Salgado, a plaintiff in the investigation into the death of Nisman, her ex-husband, has appointed two investigators for the ongoing probe.
The investigators named by Arroyo Salgado demanded a visual inspection of the Le Parc II apartment building where Nisman’s body was found on January 18, as well as access to photographs and documents associated with the prosecutor’s autopsy.
The team is composed by forensic expert Osvaldo Raffo, a forensic pathologist, and Daniel Salcedo, who led the Buenos Aires province police from 2007 to 2009. On Tuesday both went to the prosecutor’s office headed by Viviana Fein to learn about the progress made in the probe.
“We have the right to see all the results of the investigation. And we’ve asked to visit the scene of the crime for a very simple reason: you cannot separate the place (where the crime was committed) from the autopsy”, Raffo told reporters.
“We’ll then take a look at the good images and videos which were incorporated to the file, an image is worth a thousand words.”
According to the expert, there is no need to exhume the body — but he and Salcedo may need to visit the judicial morgue “to see what has been done so far.”
“We need to work with the evidence collected so far. We need to make a point-by-point evaluation of the work carried out by the prosecutor’s office,” Raffo said.
Asked by reporters as to what was his hypothesis, the expert said it was too early to tell. “We don’t know yet if we’re talking about a suicide or a homicide.”
During Nisman’s funeral last week, Arroyo Salgado said she did not believe her late ex-husband had committed suicide.
Fein on Tuesday said that Federal Police officers will send the ex-wife “a complete list of all incoming and out-coming calls” from Nisman’s cell phone number. “It is worth noticing that this information will only be a list. It will not include the content of these communications,” the prosecutor explained.
Prosecutor Fein added that the Special Technical Operations Unit of the same security force will carry out a complete visual examination of the Le Parc II apartment building in Puerto Madero, which results will be part of a soon-to-be-released report.
Finally, Fein revealed she ordered a new electronic sweep test on the hands of the late prosecutor in order to detect signs of gunpowder. A test carried out days after Nisman was found dead concluded he had no gunpowder in his hands, which raised suspicions that he might not have triggered the .22 caliber Bersa gun lent by Diego Lagomarsino, an information technology expert working for Nisman’s office.