BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A top Argentine prosecutor told the country's criminal court of appeals Thursday that he believes his late colleague Alberto Nisman was killed and didn't take his own life.
Ricardo Saenz's opinion marks the first time a judicial official has called Nisman's death a homicide. The opinion presented was sought in an appeal by Nisman's former wife, who is pushing for a federal court investigation.
Nisman was found dead in his apartment on Jan. 18, 2015. Days earlier, he had accused then President Cristina Fernandez of helping Iranian officials cover up Iran's alleged role in the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center. The case against Fernandez was later thrown out.
The mysterious death rocked Argentina, but has not been solved.
A local judge recently said there is not enough evidence to determine that the prosecutor was slain and rejected a request to move the case to a federal court. Nisman's family appealed, leading to the latest development. A decision on the appeal is expected soon.
In his written opinion, Saenz said there is proof that Nisman got death threats, that he was hit several times before he was shot in the head, and that his body had been moved, altering the crime scene. He also said Nisman's cellphone and computer were tampered with to delete any traces of the information and calls that he received hours before his death.
Saenz said he agrees with family members who contend that the timing and historical context surrounding Nisman's death will be vital to determine whether the case should be investigated by a federal court.
"Nisman was in charge of the investigation of the worst terrorist attack suffered by our country," Saenz said. "And he was found dead four days after making very serious accusations for the cover-up of that attack."