The Cassation Court’s decision to reopen late Prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s case against former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and other high-ranking officials last week sent shock waves through the region’s political spectrum, but the case will only start to getting actively investigated after the start of February. This is because the courts have started their summer recess, which lasts for all January. Only exceptionally urgent cases are dealt with during this time.
However, due to the importance of the case, press reports have already began to anticipate an order from Federal Judge Ariel Lijo calling for the fifty pieces of evidence that were requested in February 2015 by Prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita — who took over Nisman’s case after his death.
Pollicita had requested that the witnesses (a long list of figures from across the political spectrum who, because of the office they held, were connected to the issue Nisman was investigating) be called in to provide testimony. He also filed a request asking for leaders from the Jewish community and journalists working close to the case be called into court to testify as well.
Former spymaster Antonio “Jaime” Stiuso will also be called into questioning. Let’s recall that Stiuso, who was head of the country’s intelligence agency for decades until being “relieved from his post” by Cristina Kirchner in December 2014, fled the country after Nisman’s death. With his return a year later he has been adamant that the prosecutor was murdered at the orders of the former administration as a result of the accusations he was making. Stiuso said he fled the country, petitioning for political asylum in the United States.
- Read more: Here’s What Former Spymaster Stiuso Said In His First Interview Since Returning To Argentina
Many Kirchnerite officials, in contrast, believe Stiuso deliberately fed Nisman false information to help him build a case against Cristina.
Moreover, Pollicita also requested that the officers who worked in the Argentine embassies to Iran, Israel, Syria, Ethiopia, Venezuela, The United States, Switzerland, France and the UN since 2011, as well as those who joined then Foreign Minister Hector Timerman in his trips related to the signing of the Memorandum Of Understanding with Iran be called in for questioning.
Nisman assured the court that it was during these talks when Timerman — with Cristina’s knowledge — arranged to cover up Iran’s role in the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing in exchange for trade agreements.
Another of Pollicita’s main requests was to obtain the phone records from Jorge “Youssef” Khalil, who is accused of being the personal nexus between the Argentine government and Iran, in order to see if the conversations he had with other people who have been accused by the late prosecutor could yield important evidence in the case.
Nisman, as you might recall, filed an explosive report in early 2015 against Fernández and other key members of the government, accusing them of trying to cover up the role Iran played in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center that killed 85 people. Nisman died under mysterious circumstances on January 18, a day before he was supposed to back up his claims in the case before Congress. The cause of death is still under investigation and is a source of widespread controversy.