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Nisman family says Argentine prosecutor was murdered

Ex-wife says independent forensic tests show prosecutor, who accused Argentine president of a cover-up, was assassinated

Independent forensic tests on the body of the Argentine state prosecutor Alberto Nisman, found days after he accused President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of plotting to cover up Iran's alleged role in a 1994 bombing, indicate that he was murdered, his ex-wife said on Thursday.

Argentine authorities have not released full results of the autopsy of Nisman, found in a pool of blood with a bullet to the head on Jan. 18. The few forensic details that have been made public so far by prosecutor's office have suggested suicide, though no official ruling has been made.

"Nisman didn't have an accident. He didn't commit suicide. They murdered him," Sandra Arroyo Salgado, a federal judge and Nisman's former wife, told a news conference. “Nisman’s death was an assassination that deserves a response from government institutions.”

Earlier on Thursday, Arroyo Salgado deposited the forensic evidence behind her allegations at the state prosecutors' office in Buenos Aires. She did not give details of the findings to journalists.

She said a separate autopsy had not been carried out and the team's conclusions were based on photographs, videos taken during the post-mortem as well as additional tests run in the morgue.

The circumstances of Nisman's death remain murky. He was found shot dead in the bathroom of his Buenos Aires apartment. Federal prosecutor Viviana Fein told local press that an autopsy suggested no other people were involved in his death. But she did not rule out the possibility that his was "induced" to suicide. In early February, forensics experts found the DNA of an as-yet unidentified person in Nisman's apartment.

In a 300-page report released in January, Nisman accused Kirchner of reaching an agreement with Iran to avoid prosecution of eight Iranians, including former senior officials, charged with involvement in the bombing. That deal, Nisman said, would open a lucrative trade in Argentine grains and meat for Iranian oil — a pact that would help Argentina close its $7 billion per year energy deficit.

Kirchner has branded Nisman's accusation as “absurd.” And she has said rogue state spies were behind his death. In 2013, Argentina and Iran agreed to investigate the 1994 attack, which killed 85 people and remains unsolved. Iran has consistently denied it was involved in the attack.

Nisman's death has thrown Kirchner’s last year in office into turmoil amid a blizzard of conspiracy theories surrounding his mysterious death.

The case has also shocked Argentines. Thousands have protested across the country, often shouting “Yo soy Nisman,” or “I am Nisman,” in reference to the French slogan used by protestors after the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Government critics have also called Nisman the 86th victim of the 1994 attack. Polls show two in three Argentines believe they will never know the truth about his last moments.

Al Jazeera and Reuters

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