BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Investigators examining the death of a prosecutor who accused Argentine President Cristina Fernandez of agreeing to shield the alleged masterminds of a 1994 terror bombing said Tuesday they have found a draft document he wrote requesting her arrest.
Chief investigator Viviana Fein said the draft detention request was found in a trash bin of the apartment where Alberto Nisman’s body was discovered on Jan. 18. It was not included in a complaint Nisman had filed in federal court days earlier.
Nisman was found dead of a gunshot wound in his bathroom hours before he was to appear in Congress to detail his allegations that Fernandez agreed to protect those responsible for the 1994 bombing of Buenos Aires’ largest Jewish community centre. The attack, which killed 85 people, remains unsolved. Fernandez has dismissed the allegations against her.
Fein at first denied the existence of the document after Argentina’s Clarin newspaper published an article about it on Sunday. Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich ripped up the article in front of reporters on Monday.
But Clarin then published a copy of the draft, which was dated from June 2014. It said Nisman also had considered requesting arrest orders against Fernandez’s foreign minister, Hector Timerman, and other officials in her government.
On Tuesday, Fein clarified her earlier statement, acknowledging the existence of the document and saying she made an error of “terminology and interpretation.”
“The words I should have used are: ‘I know that there was a draft,'” she said. But the draft was not included in Nisman’s formal complaint and she said its existence “is not important enough to change the course of the investigation.”
Fernandez’s government and the Grupo Clarin, which owns the newspaper, have often clashed and the Nisman case has reignited the dispute.
Conspiracy theories have swirled around Nisman’s death since his body was found. Authorities initially said he likely committed suicide, but his supporters insist that the prosecutor would not have killed himself and even Fernandez has said that, contrary to initial findings, his death could not have been a suicide.
Nisman had feared for his safety and 10 federal police were assigned to protect him. The officers were suspended as part of the investigation but none have been named as suspects.