Disappearances of 43 students in Mexico: the ex-attorney general arrested

Disappearances of 43 students in Mexico: ex-Attorney General arrested

Members of the security forces stand guard outside the office of the Attorney General of Mexico (PFR).

Mexican justice on Friday ordered the arrest of the country's former attorney general as well as 64 police and military officers for the 2014 disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa normal school, the next day the release of an official commission report that called the case a “state crime”.

On Friday evening, ex-Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam was arrested at his Mexico City home on charges of enforced disappearance, torture and offenses against the administration of justice, and did not oppose of resistance, the prosecution said in a press release.

Former Attorney General Jesus Murillo sits in a police cruiser after his arrest.

The prosecution later announced that arrest warrants had been issued against 20 army officials, 44 police officers and five civil servants for their alleged involvement in the case, which had caused deep shock in Mexico and the United States. #x27;stranger.

These 64 police and military are wanted for organized crime, enforced disappearance, torture, homicide and offenses against the administration of justice, said the prosecution . The identities and rank of those sought have not been specified.

Mr. Murillo Karam, who served under President Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) and led a controversial initial investigation into these disappearances, is a former heavyweight in the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) who governed Mexico for 71 years in uninterrupted until 2000.

This is the most important personality arrested so far in the context of these investigations, which had restarted from zero after the coming to power in 2019 of leftist President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador.< /p>

The prosecution has also issued arrest warrants for 14 members of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel.

A person walks past a wall displaying photos of some of the 43 students who disappeared from the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School.

On the night of September 26 to 27, 2014 , a group of students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training school in the southern state of Guerrero, traveled to the nearby town of x27;Iguala to commandeer buses to go to Mexico City for a protest.

According to the investigation, 43 youths were arrested by local police in collusion with Guerreros Unidos, then shot and burned in a landfill for reasons that remain unclear. Only the remains of three of them could be identified.

On Thursday, an official report released by the Ayotzinapa Truth Commission set up by Mr. Lopez Obrador had estimated that Mexican soldiers had a share of responsibility in this crime.

Their actions, omissions or participation enabled the disappearance and execution of the students, as well as the murder of six others, Interior Undersecretary Alejandro Encinas said during the public presentation of the report. .

An institutional action was not accredited, but there were clear responsibilities of elements of the armed forces, he added, without specifying whether these elements were still active.

Mr. Encinas has repeatedly called the Ayotzinapa case a state crime.

Another commission, the Interdisciplinary Panel of Experts (GIEI), which had been created under an agreement between the Peña Nieto government and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), for its part, maintains that soldiers falsified evidence found in the dump where the bodies were burned.

The first official investigation, led by Mr. Murillo Karam and whose conclusions were rejected by the families of the victims and by independent experts, did not attribute any responsibility to the military. This version accused a cartel of drug traffickers of having had the students killed by mistaking them for members of a rival gang.

Making this atrocious and inhumane situation public, and at the same time punishing those responsible, helps prevent these deplorable events from happening again and strengthens institutions, said Mr. Lopez Obrador on Friday.

The Mexican President has furthermore let it be known that he would continue to urge Israel to obtain the extradition of the former head of the criminal investigation agency of the Attorney General's office, Tomas Zeron.

Accused of being involved in the Ayotzinapa case but claiming his innocence, this former senior official fled to Israel where he asked asylum.

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