BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – A prosecutor who accused Argentina’s president of orchestrating a cover-up in the investigation of Iran over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre was found dead in his apartment with a gunshot wound to the head, the government said on Monday.
The body of Alberto Nisman, who for a decade investigated the blast at the Buenos Aires AMIA Jewish community centre that killed 85 people, was discovered on Sunday night.
He had been due to testify on Monday at a congressional inquiry into his allegations.
Preliminary autopsy results suggested “there was no third-person intervention in Nisman’s death,” the office of state prosecutor Viviana Fein said in a statement. But she also said she “could not rule out a provoked suicide” whereby someone forced or blackmailed Nisman to kill himself.
A 22-calibre handgun and a single bullet casing were found next to his body, the security ministry said.
Senior politicians said they suspected more than a straightforward suicide.
“We want to know which mafiosi sector pushed the prosecutor to take this decision,” said Julian Dominguez, who leads the ruling coalition in the lower house of Congress.
Nisman had a large security detail due to threats but seemed combative rather than frightened in recent interviews.
He alleged last week that President Cristina Fernandez opened secretive discussions with Iran and at least one of the men suspected in the bombing and that the scheme aimed to clear the suspects so Argentina could swap grains for much-needed oil from Iran, which denies any connection with the attack.
Tens of thousands of Argentines took the streets on Monday evening to protest Nisman’s death and call for justice.
At least 2,000 demonstrated outside the presidential residence in Buenos Aires, chanting “murderer” and hitting their umbrellas against police barricades.