Buenos Aires protesters demand justice amid allegations of Argentina-Iran cover-up.
(photo credit: screenshot)
Protesters gathered in Buenos Aires on Wednesday to demand justice in Argentina after the mysterious death of a prosecutor who accused the country's president of trying to derail the investigation into a 1994 bombing.
State prosecutor Alberto Nisman, the lead investigator into the 1994 car bomb attack that killed 85 people at a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, was found dead in his apartment late on Sunday, hours before he was scheduled to present his case to Congress.
A 22-calibre pistol was found at his side and Nisman appears to have committed suicide, but many of the details of the case are unclear and allegations of foul play have surged. He died just a few days after accusing President Cristina Fernandez of trying to hamper his probe.
The death of Nisman has sparked widespread anger in the country amidst accusations of a government conspiracy.
Member of the AMIA Jewish organization Leonardo Jmelnitzky rallied protesters to demand answers into Nisman's death.
"The cause of death of the prosecutor (Nisman) has not been clarified and such clarification is a top priority for all of Argentine society," he declared.
Argentine courts accuse Iran of sponsoring the 1994 bombing and secured Interpol arrest warrants for five Iranians. Iran's government has denied any involvement.
Nisman said last week that Fernandez wanted to whitewash the bombing and normalize relations with Iran in order to trade Argentine grains for Iranian oil. Argentina has a $7 billion annual energy gap, complicating the government's efforts to jumpstart a faltering economy.
Jmelnitzky said the country is in mourning for Nisman and a sense of failed justice in Argentina.
"It's an incident that has put the republic in mourning, for justice, for the judiciary. AMIA and all of us who have had the pleasure of meeting (Nisman) over the years are filled with sadness," he added.
The government has denied Nisman's accusations and suggested the prosecutor's death may have been linked to a struggle within the state intelligence services but it has not provided details and no one has yet been detained.
Protesters say they will not let Nisman's death distract them from their calls for justice.
"His death is a blow to the investigation. However, despite this (and) in these difficult times we want to express emphatically that we will not allow the death of prosecutor Nisman to also be the death of this cause," declared Jmelnitzky.
Investigators have said Nisman was alone when he died, and that the two doors to the apartment were locked from the inside. But local media have reported that an air conditioning duct leading to the apartment was being looked at as a third possible way into Nisman's home.