HomeNewsBriefArgentina Prosecutor Death Latest in Botched Investigations
BRIEF

Argentina Prosecutor Death Latest in Botched Investigations

ARGENTINA / 20 JAN 2015 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

The death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman -- who accused President Cristina Kirchner of covering up a probe into a 1994 bombing -- is the latest in a series of politically sensitive cases that have involved mysterious deaths, amid widespread irregularities in Argentina's justice system.

Nisman was found in his apartment on January 18, alongside a gun and a bullet casing. The previous week, he said that President Cristina Fernandez and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman formed part of "an aggravated cover-up" in the investigation over Iran's role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center, which killed 85 people.

Nisman was due to testify before Congress on the findings of his investigation on January 19, and was under police protection because of threats. Various journalists across the region tweeted about interviews they had set up with Nisman before his body was found, and expressed doubts over whether the death was a suicide. 

InSight Crime Analysis 

This is not the first time that a high-profile case in Argentina with major political implications has involved a sudden, mysterious death. Other examples include:

  • In 1998, a retired navy captain who was a key witness in an arms trafficking case involving illegal sales to Ecuador and Croatia was found dead from a bullet to the head
  • In 2003, another key witness involved in that same case was found dead, having apparently jumped out of her 10-story apartment building while wearing a nightgown and clutching a knife. 
  • In 1998, a businessman involved in a massive bribery case, concerning kickbacks paid by IBM Argentina, was found hung in a construction site. The courts ruled it a suicide, over his family's insistence that it was a murder. 

Nisman, however, was not a witness but a state prosecutor who had said that the highest levels of Argentine political leadership were obstructing justice. Argentina expert and political analyst Eamonn MacDonagh said his death was "hugely important."

"The conclusion will be that it was a suicide, there was no third party involved, and absolutely no one will believe it," he predicted.

MacDonagh added that "it's fair to say" that the unsatisfactory resolution to many political cases involving mysterious deaths "has something to do with Peronist culture," referring to the Argentina political movement headed by Kirchner and her deceased husband Nestor, among others. "It doesn't involve killing many people but it's not averse to killing people if absolutely necessary," he said. 

President Kirchner has faced other scandals -- some of them involving drug trafficking -- that have called into question the strength of Argentina's rule of law. A report released last year by think-tank the International Assessment and Strategy Center detailed other ongoing investigations in which Kirchner has been accused of failing to cooperate.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 16 APR 2015

Authorities in Argentina have granted reduced prison sentences to 18 members of criminal group the Monos, raising the regional debate…

ARGENTINA / 14 AUG 2019

While the seizure of hundreds of high-powered weapons in Argentina and a subsequent investigation offer fresh clues about criminal dynamics…

ARGENTINA / 19 MAR 2015

Authorities in Argentina busted a large-scale synthetic drug lab, further demonstrating that domestic production of synthetic drugs is becoming more…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Unraveling the Web of Elites Connected to Organized Crime

27 JUL 2021

InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.