With the death by gunshot wound of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, the investigation into the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires has ground to a halt. Nisman was hours away from presenting his evidence to an Argentine congressional committee when he was found dead at his home on Jan. 18. Some have called Nisman, who was Jewish, the 86th victim of the AMIA terrorist attack, the most deadly in Argentina’s history.
The evidence has long pointed to Iranian officials as planning the AMIA bombing and Hezbollah operatives as carrying it out. A decade of inept and fruitless investigations went by before Nisman was appointed prosecutor in 2004. Before his death, he was preparing to bring charges against Argentina’s president, Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, and foreign minister, Hector Timerman, for hiding Iran’s role in the bombing in exchange for favorable oil prices for Argentina.
Nisman reportedly lived under threat for his life by Iranian agents and was under constant pressure from the Argentine government about his work. In 2013, he spoke out about an Iranian “intelligence and terrorist network” in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia and Guyana, among others. And he continued his work despite the announcement that year of an Argentine-Iranian “truth commission” created to investigate the AMIA attack.
Argentina’s Jewish community criticized any investigation that included the Iranians. It smacked of collusion between the two governments rather than a genuine search for the truth. Collusion is the charge Nisman leveled against Fernandez and Timerman, who is Jewish.
Fernandez first called Nisman’s death a suicide. She then reversed herself and said it was murder. Polls showed that a majority of Argentinians already had reached that conclusion.
We hope the true cause of Nisman’s death will be revealed soon. If it was murder, there must be justice. For now, Nisman’s suspicious death only underlines the sad truth that two decades later, there has been no justice for the victims of the AMIA bombing.