A special prosecutor who had accused Argentine President Cristina Fernandez of shielding Iranian suspects in the South American country’s worst terrorist attack was found shot dead, authorities said Monday, a development that drew outrage from Jewish leaders.
Alberto Nisman, who was set to testify Monday in a Congressional hearing about the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center, was found in the bathroom of his Buenos Aires apartment late Sunday, federal prosecutor Viviana Fein told Telam, Argentina’s official news agency.
“We can confirm that it was a gunshot wound, .22 caliber,” she said, adding that it was too early in the investigation to know what had happened.
Nisman was appointed 10 years ago by Fernandez’s late husband, then President Nestor Kirchner, to investigate the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and injured more than 200.
Argentina has one of the largest concentrations of Jews outside of Israel, with estimates ranging around 200,000, mostly in Buenos Aires.
In 2013, Argentina and Iran reached an agreement to investigate the attack, which remains unsolved. That year, Nisman released an indictment accusing Iran and Hezbollah of organizing the blast. Iran denies any involvement.
Last week, Nisman accused Fernandez and other senior Argentine officials of agreeing not to punish at least two former Iranian officials in the case. He asked a judge to call Fernandez and others, including Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, for questioning.
“The president and her foreign minister took the criminal decision to fabricate Iran’s innocence to sate Argentina’s commercial, political and geopolitical interests,” Nisman said last week.
Fernandez has yet to comment on the allegations, but administration officials have called the prosecutor’s allegations ludicrous.
Report complied with information from AP