Mexico takes former chief prosecutor into custody over controversial investigation into disappearance of 43 students


Mexico on Saturday took a former attorney general into custody as part of a controversial investigation it led into the disappearance of 43 students in 2014 – one of the country’s worst human rights tragedies.

The “preventive detention” of Jesus Murillo Karam was imposed “to guarantee his appearance” during a hearing on Wednesday, according to a judicial source, where it will be determined whether he will be tried for charges related to the case.

Murillo Karam, who was arrested fridayis the most prominent figure detained to date in connection with the case, which has shocked the nation and sparked international condemnation.

Mexico arrests former attorney general in 2014 missing students case
A person walks past a wall with photos of some of the 43 students who disappeared from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College after the arrest of former Attorney General Jesus Murillo on charges of enforced disappearance, torture and obstruction of justice during the disappearance of 43 students in 2014, on Reforma Avenue, in Mexico City, Mexico on August 19, 2022.

HENRY ROMERO / REUTERS


Arrest warrants have also been issued for dozens of other suspects, including military, police and cartel members, prosecutors said.

They are accused of having participated in organized crime, enforced disappearancetorture, homicide and obstruction of justice, they said.

The student teachers had commandeered buses in the southern state of Guerrero to travel to a protest in Mexico City before disappearing.

Investigators say they were arrested by corrupt police and handed over to the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel who mistook them for members of a rival gang, but what happened to them has been hotly disputed.

According to Official report presented in 2015, cartel members killed the students and cremated their remains in a landfill.

These conclusions were rejected by independent experts and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as by the families of the victims.

Murillo Karam is considered the architect of the so-called “historical truth” version of events presented in 2015 by the government of former President Enrique Pena Nieto and widely rejected, including by relatives.

The former heavyweight of the once-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was arrested for the crimes of enforced disappearance, torture and perversion of justice, the attorney general’s office said.

In May, the number of people reported missing in Mexico ravaged by violence exceeded 100,000, according to official data. About 75% are men.

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