Angry Scenes as Argentine Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman is Buried Alongside AMIA Victims in Buenos Aires Jewish Cemetery


alberto-nismanBy B. Cohen

Amid angry reactions from some mourners who objected to funeral wreaths sent by the Argentine government, Alberto Nisman, the Argentine Special Prosecutor who died in mysterious circumstances earlier this month, was today buried at the La Tablada Jewish cemetery in Buenos Aires. Nisman was laid to rest alongside the victims of the very same 1994 terrorist atrocity against the AMIA Jewish community center that he had spent more than a decade investigating.

On the eve of his death, Nisman accused senior Argentine leaders, including President Cristina ​Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, of deliberately covering up Iran’s involvement with the attack. While the Argentine authorities initially painted Nisman’s death as a probable suicide, over the last week, that interpretation has been shattered, with Fernández de Kirchner herself implying that the Special Prosecutor was murdered.

By burying Nisman outside the plot in the cemetery reserved for suicides, Argentina’s Jewish community unambiguously stated its own view on how he died. Gaby Levinas, a prominent left-wing journalist, observed on Twitter: “The official position of the Jews of Argentina is expressed in the burial place. Suicides are buried far from the others, Nisman is not.”

Among those attending Nisman’s funeral today were the newly-appointed American ambassador to Argentina, Noah Mamet, as well as Ariel Lijo, the judge who was dealing with Nisman’s official complaint against the government, and representatives of AMIA and the DAIA, the official communal body of Argentina’s Jews. The Buenos Aires Herald reported that Rabbi Marcelo Pollakoff was presiding over the ceremony.

The BBC said that there were angry scenes when a courier delivered two huge wreaths with messages of condolence from government departments, including the Ministry of Justice. “Angry campaigners tore at the flowers, ripping and stamping on the ribbons,” a BBC correspondent reported.

Earlier today, moving death notices from Nisman’s daughters and his former wife were published in a local newspaper. Next to Nisman’s name and the initials “Z.L.” – short for “Zichrono Livracha,” or “may his memory be blessed,” a traditional Jewish phrase for respecting the dead – his daughters, Iara and Kala, said, “Today we say goodbye in the knowledge of your dedication to your work. We hope that you can now find peace. We will keep in our hearts the beautiful times we spent together.”

Nisman’s ex-wife, federal judge Sandra Arroyo, wrote, “I am getting through this difficult moment in bewilderment and pain for our daughters. I say goodbye and hope that you find the peace that your utter commitment to your work did not allow you to fully enjoy.”

Nisman’s burial came one day after his former associate, Diego Lagomarsino, confirmed that he had lent the Special Prosecutor a gun the day before he was found shot dead.

Lagomarino, an IT engineer, said that Nisman had told him, “I am more afraid of being right than being wrong,” on the morning before he died.