BUENOS AIRES – Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has claimed that an operation against the government was responsible for the death of public prosecutor Alberto Nisman, an accusation strongly criticized by the opposition, who called for removal of security chiefs.
In a letter titled, “The spies who were not spies. The questions that turned into certainties. The suicide that I am now convinced was not a suicide,” Fernandez said Thursday that Nisman was given false evidence to accuse the government of allegedly protecting Iranians suspected of the bombing of the AMIA Jewish center which killed 85 people in 1994.
“They used him while he was alive and then they needed him dead. This was sad and terrible,” Fernandez said, referring to Nisman.
“I don’t have proof, but I neither have doubts,” she added after underlining that it was a real political and judicial scandal.
According to the president, Nisman was brave to return from his vacations midway and make his accusations about the alleged cover-up “in order to make best use of the international turmoil generated by the terrorist attacks in France.”
“What he could not imagine was that time was not just running out for the ‘exposé of the century,’ but also for his own life,” she added.
Just days before, she had posted another note on social networking sites where she questioned the motives that led to a person to make the terrible decision of taking his own life.
Fernandez’s theory was backed Thursday by other members of the government, who in a public ceremony criticized a global attack by intelligence agents, judges, economic groups and opposition-backed media to tarnish the government.
“We strongly support our government,” said a statement written by Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich, Defense Minister Agustin Rossi, Buenos Aires Governor Daniel Scioli and other high officials.
“If the president thinks that Nisman was murdered, she needs to remove Security (Ministry) chiefs,” said legislator Ernesto Sanz of the opposition.
“This is very serious. She moves from supporting a suicide hypothesis to (one implying) murder. This must have consequences,” he told reporters.
Francisco de Narvaez of the Frente Renovador party said that with this tragedy, the president did not have the right to intervene in the independence of the judiciary.
The change in the official version of the events adds up to multiple security lapses detected during the investigations after the special prosecutor in the AMIA bombings was found dead, with a bullet in his head, in his apartment in Buenos Aires last weekend.
Though Nisman had received threats and was provided with 10 policemen for his security, no one was guarding the front portion of his apartment, but were around the apartment building and neither of them were on duty 24 hours a day.
Additionally, apart from the main entrance and the service entrance to his apartment, a third entrance was also found through a narrow corridor housing air conditioning equipment.
Reports of Nisman’s death emerged Monday, hours before he was scheduled to appear before Congress to present his charges against Fernandez, based on telephone conversations between Argentine spies, for covering-up Iranian links to the AMIA bombing.