Ayotzinapa: Tomás Zenón fled to Israel

Tomás Zerón was charged with torture and enforced disappearance

Ayotzinapa: Tomás Zenón fled to Israel
In March 2020, EL UNIVERSAL reported Tomás Zerón fled Mexico in late 2019 - Photo: Ivan Stephens/EL UNIVERSAL
English 15/09/2020 12:07 Pedro Villa y Caña Mexico City Actualizada 12:14

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President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Tomás Zerón de Lucio, a former official accused of torturing suspects linked to the Ayotzinapa case and tampering with evidence, is currently hiding in Israel. The Interpol is currently looking for Zerón.

During his morning news conference, López Obrador said the Mexican government has reached out to Israel and asked the foreign country not to protect Tomás Zerón and treat the case as political persecution. 

 
The President explained authorities believed Zerón fled to Canada, but it was later confirmed he is currently hiding in Israel. He added that Mexico already alerted Israel that there is an arrest warrant against Zerón de Lucio. 

López Obrador emphasized Israel should not protect someone like Zerón because it wouldn’t be fair or humane. The Mexican President said: “there is enough evidence to demonstrate that he acted arbitrarily, I’m not going to explain that, but that is the information we received.” 
 
Since he took office in December 2018, López Obrador vowed to solve the Ayotzinapa case. 

According to investigations, Tomás Zerón de Lucio “witnessed and tolerated the torture of detainees” in the case of the 43 Ayotzinapa students when he was the head of the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) under the Prosecutors’ Office (PGR).

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In July 2020, Mexican authorities confirmed Tomás Zerón, the case’s chief investigator, fled Mexico. 

Nearly six years after 43 students disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero confirmed Tomás Zerón, the case’s chief investigator, fled the country months ago. Gertz Manero added that prosecutors had requested 46 arrest warrants for municipal officials in the state in connection to the enforced disappearance case.

In a video posted to social media, Gertz Manero said that there is an international search underway for Tomás Zerón, the former head of the Criminal Investigation Agency. An arrest warrant was obtained for Zerón in March, but he fled the country, Gertz Manero said. 

In September 2019, Zerón was accused of torturing suspects involved in the enforced disappearance of the 43 Mexican students and of manipulating evidence. 

In March 2020, EL UNIVERSAL reported Tomás Zerón fled Mexico in late 2019, and that he was allegedly living in Canada. 

The warrants are based on enforced disappearance and organized crime charges, Gertz Manero said. 
 
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Many of these officials were previously arrested and released after the cases against them fell apart. Gertz Manero said the new charges were never investigated or brought by prosecutors at the time.
 
The original investigation concluded in what the Jesús Murillo Karam, then-Attorney General, called the “historic truth” that the 43 students from the teaching college at Ayotzinapa were abducted by police in Iguala in September 2014 and handed over to drug cartel Guerreros Unidos, which killed them and burned their bodies. However, independent experts found numerous flaws in the investigation.

Since the Attorney General’s Office started the investigation under Gertz Manero, additional remains have been recovered and sent to the University of Innsbruck in Austria for identification.

In an interview with journalist Salvador García Soto on June 30, Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero said he knows where Tomás Zerón is. 
 
Gertz Manero said the former investigator knew he would be held accountable for how he handled the Ayotzinapa case and fled the country. 

Documents indicate the case's chief investigator witnessed and allowed suspects to be tortured to build the case. 

Tomás Zerón has been charged with torture, enforced disappearance, and offenses against the administration of justice.

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