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  • Late Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman gestures during a meeting with journalists in Buenos Aires, May 29, 2013.

    Late Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman gestures during a meeting with journalists in Buenos Aires, May 29, 2013. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 February 2016

The accusation was raised by a district attorney who helped organize a controversial demonstration against the Fernandez government.

A district attorney for the Buenos Aires Criminal Appeals Court alleged Thursday that the suspicious death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman was a homicide and not a suicide, backing assertions made by Nisman's ex-wife, who maintains that he was murdered.

"The evidence up to this point supports the hypothesis that Alberto Nisman was the victim of the crime of homicide," wrote District Attorney Ricardo Saenz.

The district attorney also made a non-binding recommendation that the case be handed over to federal authorities and pursued as a murder investigation.

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Earlier this month, Fabiana Palmaghini, the judge presiding over the case, said that it was premature to determine definitively if Nisman's death was a homicide or a suicide.

Previous investigations by forensic experts have concluded that Nisman died by his own hand.

Nisman was found shot dead in the bathroom of his Buenos Aires on the day he was scheduled to address the country’s lawmakers regarding the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center. Nisman was the lead investigator into the incident, which left 85 people dead.

The death of Nisman rocked Argentina, with some trying to pin the blame on the government of then President Cristina Fernandez.

Critics alleged that Fernandez wanted Nisman dead after he suggested there was a government conspiracy to cover up the role of Iranian officials in the bombing.

District Attorney Saenz, who made the allegation that Nisman's death was a homicide, helped organize a controversial demonstration against the Fernandez government regarding the Nisman case alongside many of those critics.

Argentine courts have repeatedly dismissed the allegations of an official conspiracy. The courts also opted to close the file regarding Nisman's alleged murder, saying that there was no evidence of a crime by then President Fernandez.

Fernandez has alleged that Jaime Stiusso, a former spy at the now disbanded Intelligence Secretariat, fed Nisman false information implicating her government in an official cover-up of Iranian involvement in the bombing, ostensibly to protect growing trade relations between Argentina and the Islamic Republic.

Stiusso, who briefly fled the country but returned earlier this month, is considered a suspect in connection to the mysterious death of Nisman.

According to testimony from Alberto Massino, a former analysis director at the Intelligence Secretariat, Nisman called Stiusso a day before his death, trying to reach him.

Nisman's findings proved to have major loopholes, lending credence to the theory that someone was giving him false information to undermine the government.

Meanwhile, Nisman's former wife, Sandra Arroyo Salgado, insists that the prosecutor was killed by his colleague, Diego Lagomarsino, over a money dispute.

In response to Arroyo's accusations, Lagomarsino's lawyer revealed that Nisman was siphoning off half of Lagomarsino's salary and had been doing so for years.

A bank account in the United States shared by Lagomarsino, Nisman, his sister, and mother became the subject of a corruption investigation. Furthermore, WikiLeaks cables have revealed a close relationship between Nisman and the U.S. and Israeli embassies.

An Argentine court will hold a hearing on March 18 to determine whether the file should be transferred to federal authorities.

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