We can’t yet know the truth in the mysterious death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman. We do know that, as the tireless investigator examining the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people, Nisman was just hours away from presenting evidence that his country’s president and foreign minister had agreed to whitewash Tehran’s role in the bombing in exchange for oil shipments to energy-hungry Argentina.
We do know that Nisman was found dead in his 13th-floor apartment with a single gunshot wound to the head. We know that aides to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner quickly said evidence pointed to suicide, noting that a .22-caliber pistol and spent cartridge were found near Nisman’s body. We don’t know what happened to his police protection.
We know that the suicide theory was dismissed in Buenos Aires and around the world by people familiar with Nisman and his work investigating the AMIA attack. They noted that no traces of gunpowder were found on Nisman’s hand. There also was no suicide note.
Appointed to take over a hopelessly corrupt investigation in 2005, Nisman stood up to hostile courts, police, and politicians. He uncovered a trail leading from the Iranian leaders who ordered the attack to the Hizbullah operatives who planned its execution, formally charging Iran and Hizbullah in 2006. And he cried foul when Argentina and Iran signed a sham joint memorandum of understanding to investigate the bombing.
“This death is like another bomb,” Argentine-Israeli journalist Roxana Levinson, whose uncle was killed in the AMIA attack, told JTA. “It’s a death sentence for truth and justice.”
There is a lot that we don’t know in the death of Alberto Nisman, but we do know this: The world has lost a hero.