Argentine Jews Want Day of National Mourning to Commemorate Nisman

Jewish groups plan to boycott state Holocaust Day ceremony, following death of prosecutor investigating 1994 bombing at Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

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A sign that reads 'Justice' outside the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires during a demonstration to demand justice over the death of Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, January 21, 2015. Credit: Reuters

An organization representing Argentinian Jewry has urged the country's government to declare a national day of mourning on the day that the late prosecutor Alberto Nisman is buried, the Buenos Aires Herald reported yesterday.

Nisman was found dead in his Buenos Aires apartment earlier this week in what the government first said was a suicide but has since acknowledged, if only unofficially, as a murder.

He had been investigating a 1994 bombing at a Jewish center in the city at the time of his death and was due to present a report to the country's congress the day he was killed.

Eighty-five people, most of them Jews, were killed in the bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) on July 18, 1994.

"We want the burial of prosecutor Nisman, as soon as his body is returned, to be declared a day of national mourning," Julio Schlosser told the Jewish News Agency on Friday. Schlosser is the head of the DAIA Jewish community organization.

He added that Nisman would most probably "be buried in a Jewish cemetery."

At a rally on Wednesday outside the apartment building in which Nisman lived, the DAIA and AMIA called for the prosecutor's investigation to continue. "We are not going to allow our hope, our need for justice, to die with his death," Schlosser said.

Meanwhile, several groups from the Argentine Jewish community have decided not to participate in the official Holocaust memorial ceremony scheduled for January 27, due to “disagreements and problems” with the national government.

They will instead hold their own remembrance service next Tuesday.

The decision further distances the Jewish organizations — the majority of which have regularly participated in the ceremony since its inception — from the government in the wake of Nisman's death.

Shortly before his death, Nisman filed a complaint against Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman for an alleged plot to cover up the 1994 bombing, which has been widely blamed on Iran.