EspañolThe title of Gustavo Perednik’s 2009 novelistic narration of the AMIA investigation, To Kill Without a Trace, was almost prescient. The Argentinean-born Israeli author was a close friend of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who died one month ago with a gunshot to the head in his apartment in Buenos Aires.
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The official investigation has since mixed with political machinations, and rumors have swirled, but Perednik is beyond certain that his friend was murdered.
The writer and philosopher spoke with the PanAm Post about his views on the case, and what his friend would say if he were still alive.
Many Argentineans haven’t believed the suicide hypothesis from the start. Why do you think this is?
No one believed in the suggestion of suicide, not even those who spread the rumor. They did it to sow general confusion, and they were successful to a degree. But afterwards, when they began to change their story about what happened, this success slipped out of their hands. They didn’t manage to confuse people.
It wasn’t a suicide — obviously, one needs police and ballistic evidence to prove it. But for a cheerful man at the peak of his career, who loved his daughters, who loved sport and life, and was on the point of seeing the fruition of decades of intense work, and was just about to present his investigation and incriminate people very close to power, to abruptly and inexplicably shoot himself? No one believes that. The president began to spread this rumor because obviously they handed over to her all of the evidence that Nisman had gathered.
Within 15 seconds, the president of a country is telling us that it was a suicide, that it was an induced suicide, and then that it was a murder, and even tells us who the murderers were.
Later she switched to saying it was an induced suicide, which is again different to a murder, but people didn’t buy this either. She ended up saying that, sure, it was a murder, but she took advantage of the new version to present herself as a victim.
She said that in reality it was a murder, but he was killed by several intelligence service agents who wanted to take revenge on her, because she’d fired them a short time ago. It’s an absurd claim that has embarrassed the majority of people.
She’s come to a conclusion that could be reached after a police investigation of perhaps a year and a half. But within 15 seconds, the president of a country is telling us that it was a suicide, that it was an induced suicide, and then that it was a murder, and even tells us who the murderers were. All this has only increased Argentineans’ suspicions that the highest levels of power are involved in the murder. This is what has shocked Argentinean society so strongly.
And what about the 12 hours between Nisman’s death and the discovery of his body?
Along with what you’re referring to, there are many details that lack any explanation. For example, who was filming in such detail when Nisman went to the airport [to leave for Europe]? It wasn’t CCTV footage from the airport, but there was someone that was following him permanently. Argentinean government bodies had access to this material immediately.
This points to the suspicions that I’ve been telling you about. But I don’t want to get into them, because they’re really to do with the policing part of the story, which is of no less importance, but it isn’t mine.
Nisman had in his hands a case which was going to shake Argentinean democracy to its very core.
Was leading the special prosecution unit on the AMIA case tough on Nisman? Did he feel any extra pressure?
Nisman would bring the proof of how he mas murdered, and he’d immediately indict those responsible.
This was the mission of his life. He came to it almost by chance and it transformed his live. A man fully dedicated, with a profound conviction in justice, to reach the truth through legal means. He was a believer that you could beat terrorism and corruption through the way of the law, an almost idealistic conviction.
I’m not sure that I’d call it a weight. I think he felt it more as a privilege, a mission for his life.
Why didn’t Nisman present the call for the arrest of the president that was found after his death?
That’s very clear: because they killed him. He was going to present all of this, and they killed him before he could. In the last meeting I had with him, a little over a month ago in Buenos Aires, the phrase that stood out was “Gustavo, believe me, I’m going to take them prisoner or they’ll have to leave the country.” And “them” was the president of the nation and the foreign minister [Héctor Timerman].
Are you optimistic about the new charges against Cristina Kirchner?
I was completely pessimistic upon hearing about the murder of Alberto Nisman. I felt it as a loss from every point of view. But now with the prosecutor [Gerardo Pollicita] taking up the charges again, and saying that there’s enough evidence to accuse the president, the foreign minister, and the chief of [militant Kirchnerist group] La Cámpora, a new hope that justice might be done is beginning to surface.
What do you think Nisman would say about everything that’s happened?
That’s a very difficult question. What I can tell you is that his style wasn’t to offer opinions, but to present evidence. He always told me, “Look, I’ll leave philosophizing to you. I’m no philosopher: I deal with proof.”
So what he’d bring here would be the proof of how he mas murdered, and he’d immediately indict those responsible.