Prosecutor’s protection team probed

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Published: Saturday 24th January 2015 by The News Editor

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The police officers assigned to protect an Argentine prosecutor who accused President Cristina Fernandez of shielding Iranians sought in a terrorist bombing are being investigated over their actions on the day he was found shot dead.

The 10 officers, along with two supervisors, are being looked at as part of an internal police investigation into the handling of Alberto Nisman’s death.

The officers are not considered suspects, a person close to the investigation said.

In particular, he said, investigators are looking into the time it took two officers assigned to the door of Mr Nisman’s building to advise their superiors that they had not been able to reach him by telephone.

Earlier this week, those two officers made declarations to lead investigator Viviana Fein, who would ultimately decide whether to try them for anything. All 10 have been suspended during the probe.

The 51-year-old prosecutor was found last Sunday slumped in the bathroom of his flat with a bullet wound in his head.

His death came days after he gave a judge a report alleging Ms Fernandez secretly reached a deal to prevent prosecution of former Iranian officials accused of involvement in the 1994 bombing of Argentina’s largest Jewish centre, the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association. The attack killed 85 people and injured more than 200.

Meanwhile justice officials said they have been unable to locate the man who loaned Mr Nisman the gun used in his death despite “repeated attempts,” and were ordering that he be barred from leaving the country without first getting permission from Argentine authorities.

Diego Lagomarsino, who spoke to authorities soon after Mr Nisman’s death, said he had given a .22-calibre pistol to him because the prosecutor wanted it for protection. Mr Lagomarsino has not been named as a suspect.

Ms Fernandez, who has dismissed Nisman’s allegations of a cover-up over the bombing, published two letters on social media this week about the prosecutor’s death – the first saying it appeared he had killed himself, then a second saying she was now convinced it was not suicide.

Mr Nisman’s allegations, she said, were based on false information given to him by the former head of the intelligence services. In her second letter, published on Thursday, she portrayed Nr Nisman’s death as a way to damage her administration.

The US government wants “a complete and impartial investigation,” state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said yesterday.

“The United States and the international community continue to work with the Argentine government, as well as victims of the AMIA bombing and their families, to seek justice,” she said.

Published: Saturday 24th January 2015 by The News Editor

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