A special prosecutor who had accused President Cristina Kirchner of ordering impunity for Iranian suspects in Argentina’s worst terrorist attack was found dead in his apartment just hours before he was to present his findings.
Alberto Nisman, who was set to testify Monday in a closed-door hearing, was found in the bathroom of his Buenos Aires apartment late Sunday, federal prosecutor Viviana Fein told Telam, Argentina’s official news agency.
Nisman had been appointed 10 years ago by the president’s late husband, then President Néstor Kirchner, to investigate the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and injured more than 200. In 2013, Argentina and Iran reached an agreement to investigate the attack, which remains unsolved.
According to Infobae, Nisman had been assigned a security detail of 10 police officers, who left him in his home on Friday. A source says the prosecutor did not leave his apartment on Saturday, and when members of the protection unit arrived on Sunday, as they had been instructed, there was no response from Nisman. Officers eventually called Nisman’s mother, who entered the apartment and allegedly found his body in the bathroom.
Police sources say investigators found a .22 caliber pistol, a bullet and bullet casing at the scene. Nisman was authorized by Argentina’s national arms registry (Renar) to carry a .38 caliber pistol as well as a .22 caliber, although they have not yet confirmed that the weapon found in the bathroom was his.
Investigators who responded to the scene also found documents from the case Nisman was to present today on his desk.
Initial reports are referring to the case as a “possible suicide,” but, given the timing of the incident, rumors and conspiracy theories are already swirling around the country. Officials have urged the public and the media to avoid jumping to any conclusions.
“We’re asking that people be cautious and wait for information. In the next few days, we’ll know the cause of death. [At the moment,] we found a weapon,” Fein told reporters.
Additional reporting from Associated Press