Mexico reopens Ayotzinapa case and targets former Attorney General
It's been 5 years after the students went missing yet the case hasn't been solved - Photo: Edgrd Garrido/Reuters

Mexico reopens Ayotzinapa case and targets former Attorney General

19/09/2019
14:32
Newsroom & Agencies
Mexico City
Reuters: Lizbeth Diaz
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The UN and other international bodies have refuted the “historical truth” presented by the Peña Nieto administration

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Mexico will open a new investigation into the 2014 disappearance and apparent massacre of 43 students, authorities said on Wednesday, a controversial case that caused a crisis for the previous government and drew international criticism.

“We’re going to start again,” Omar Gémez, the special prosecutor appointed to oversee the reexamination of the case, said in a statement.

The alleged abduction and suspected massacre of the 43 student teachers in the southwestern city of Iguala, in the state of Guerrero, by corrupt police officers working with a violent drug gang precipitated one of the worst crises of former President Enrique Peñaa Nieto’s government.

His successor, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, set up a commission late last year to look into the handling of the case and has since periodically announced developments, including an investigation into the officials who led the investigation.

Wednesday, Gómez on said authorities would investigate “a long list of politicians that bear different degrees of responsibilities.”

Felipe de la Cruz, the father of one of the missing students, welcomed the official reopening of the case.

“Unfortunately it has been five years of feeding lies, we practically prefer to start from scratch because at first everything was done badly,” de la Cruz said in an interview.

The government has said its investigation into former officials from the Peña Nieto administration for their handling of the probe will target a former Attorney General and his top aides.

López Obrador has also criticized the release from prison of several suspects in the case after a judge ordered the release of a key suspect. He told relatives of the victims in a private meeting earlier this week that he was working on preventing the release of any more. So far 77 of 142 suspects detained have been released by courts.

Moreover, President López Obrador offered protection to those involved in the disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students if they provide information about the students' location.

“We all have to help, contribute, and if there are people who intervened, they will have the government's protection if they want to help by providing information about the student's location,” the President said.

Yesterday, the parents of the 43 missing students, the President, and Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero met to discuss the case.

During the private meeting, the Attorney General and the victims' parents decided to start over with the investigation and to look for a mechanism to prevent that more people involved in the case are freed from prison.

For the case, the authorities will resume the line of investigation suggested by the Interdisciplinary Independent Experts Group (GIEI) and General Attorney Gertz Manero will maintain direct contact with the special prosecutor for the Ayotzinapa case.

Furthermore, the victims' parents will meet with the Attorney General in December to discuss the developments in the case and will also meet with the President in November.

Vidulfo Rosales, the parents' lawyer, said that the victims' parents are asking for Tomás Zerón de Lucio, the former head of the Criminal Investigation Agency, and Jesús Murillo Karam, the former Attorney General, to be prosecuted for “creating the historical truth” about the Ayotzinapa case.

“We want these people (Tomás Zerón de Lucio and Jesús Murillo Karam) to be prosecuted for having created a truth that never existed, for committing irregularities in this case.”

The official account of the incident released by the previous government stated the students were killed and then incinerated by gang members after their abduction. Investigators have only definitively identified the remains of one of the 43.

The U.N. human rights office said in a report last year that Mexican authorities had probably tortured dozens of people during the investigation.
 

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