The Argentine prosecutor who accused President Cristina Fernandez of orchestrating a cover-up in the investigation of Iran over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center has been found dead in his apartment, authorities said on Monday.
Special prosecutor Alberto Nisman was due to participate in a closed-door session with Congress Monday over his claim last week that de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman covered up a deal with Iran.
He said they promised to absolve Iranian officials accused of masterminding the 1994 bombing on a Buenos Aires Jewish center that left 85 dead, in return for deliveries of much-needed oil from Iran.
Nisman, who was Jewish, was found shortly before midnight (0300 GMT) in a pool of blood in his bathroom, prosecutor Viviana Fein confirmed Monday. A 22-calibre handgun and a single bullet casing were found next to his body, the Argentine Security Ministry said.
"Everything indicates it was a suicide," National Security Secretary Sergio Berni told local television. "We have to see if gunpowder is found on his hands."
"Alberto Nisman was found dead on Sunday night in his flat on the 13th floor of the tower Le Parc, in the Buenos Aires district of Puerto Madero," the ministry said in a statement.
Federal prosecutor Viviana Fein told Telam, Argentina's official news agency that they were able "to confirm that it was a gunshot wound, .22 caliber," but added that it was too early in the investigation to know what had happened.
The ministry said Nisman's security guards had alerted his mother on Sunday afternoon that he was not answering his front door or phone, and the Sunday papers were still on his doorstep.
Nisman's mother found the door to his flat locked from the inside and had to get a locksmith to open it. She found her son's body on the floor of the bathroom, blocking the entrance, and called the police.
It is currently unclear how Nisman's death will affect the outcome of the investigation commanded by Federal judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral. The magistrate evaluated the removal of Nisman during the last few days, as result of what he considered a lack of serious evidence on the alleged cover-up operation by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and other pro-government figures.
In addition, Canicoba Corral said that some of the evidence gathered by Nisman was gathered without his direct order, and that the attorney committed excesses in his duty, especially regarding the telephone hearings of suspects. Nisman’s accusations were rejected by government officials, who considered it a political maneuver.
Meanwhile, relatives of the 85 victims of the AMIA bombing attack will have to face another judicial struggle following 20 years without justice.
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