Damian Pachter, who broke the story of the death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, has apparently fled the country, sources said.
Damian Pachter, who broke the story of the death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, has apparently fled the country “in fear for this life,” sources said.
Reports said that Pachter had told colleagues in the Argentine Journalist Forum that he was being followed, and that he feared someone would try to harm him for his coverage of the Nisman story.
Nisman, the Argentine prosecutor who accused President Cristina Kirchner of obstructing a probe into the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA), was found dead several weeks ago, with his death initially ruled a suicide by authorities. However, many people in Argentina – including Kirchner herself – reject that notion.
Shortly following his death, it was revealed Nisman had received threats to his life over his investigation. That, along with other evidence of foul-play such as the lack of gunpowder on his hands and the fact that the pistol used did not belong to him, had already fueled suspicion in Argentina and elsewhere that he had been murdered.
Public anger over the official reaction to Nisman's death - which officials initially attempted to dismiss as suicide - prompted the Argentine government to back a probe into his death.
In a post on its Twitter account, Argentine Journalist Forum wrote that “Pachter explained to the forum” that “yesterday he noticed suspicious sources trailing him, and felt that he had to leave the country at this stage."
In an article published in Ha’Aretz, Pachter wrote: “Once I tweeted that Nisman had died, hundreds of people quickly retweeted the news and started following me. That was my first of many sleepless days.”
He continued: “You just broke the best story in decades,” lots of people said. “You’re crazy,” was another take. Either way, nobody questioned that the situation was very grave.” Pachter added, “The following days were marked by a government trying to create an official story. First, the head of state suggested a “suicide hypothesis,” then a mysterious murder.”
Before his death, Nisman had filed a 280-page complaint charging that Kirchner had issued an "express directive" to shield a group of Iranian suspects in the bombing. The special prosecutor was found shot dead just hours before he was due to testify at an Argentine congressional hearing over his claims that the Argentinian government was trying to cover up his findings in return for oil deals with Iran.
Nisman's body was discovered on the floor of the bathroom of his apartment on the 13th floor of Le Parc Tower on Sunday, with a .22 caliber pistol and one empty shell casing nearby.
Said Pachter: “I have no idea when I’ll be back in Argentina; I don’t even know if I want to. What I do know is that the country where I was born is not the happy place my Jewish grandparents used to tell me stories about.”