Mexico arrests former attorney general over student disappearances
19 Aug 2022 (MSN)
Mexican federal prosecutors said they had arrested the country’s former Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam amid charges he mishandled investigations into the disappearance of 43 students in 2014.
On September 26, 2014, the young men studying at a rural teacher training college in Ayotzinapa went missing in the city of Iguala in Guerrero state.
No proof or suggestions have been made that the students remain alive.
Murillo Karam was attorney general between 2012 and 2015, serving under former President Enrique Pena Nieto. He is the most senior official to be arrested to date in the probe into one of the country’s gravest human rights abuses.
What is Murillo Karam accused of?
The current attorney general, Alejandro Gertz Manero, had accused Murillo Karam in 2020 of “orchestrating a massive media trick” to oversee a “generalized cover-up” in the extraordinary high-profile case of the disappeared students.
Facing pressure to solve the case, Murillo Karam said in 2014 that members of a drug gang had killed the students and burned their bodies at a garbage dump. Murillo Karam labeled this assessment “historic truth.”
Murillo Karam’s speculative response was rejected by many, including the victims’ families.
His arrest comes one day after a commission was set up to determine whether the army had any responsibility for the students’ disappearances.
What happened to the students?
It is believed that the students were abducted by corrupt local police, members of the security forces and a drug gang active in the city of Iguala, where the kidnappings took place.
The students disappeared near a military base where it is alleged soldiers were aware of what was going on. The victims’ families have rallied for those soldiers to be brought to account.
The investigation included instances of torture, improper arrest and mishandling of evidence. The result is that some of the country’s most hardened criminals within the underworld of narco-traffickers have been permitted to walk free.
Investigators believe the students were Initially detained by corrupt police who then handed them over to a drug gang who accused them of belonging to a rival gang, thereby placing their lives in extreme peril.
The final resting place of the students remains unknown though Murillo Karam had said that drug gangs incinerated the students’ corpses and incinerated the remains at the Cocula dump and ditched what remained in a nearby river.
The head of Mexico’s federal investigations, Tomas Zeron, fled to Israel after it became clear he was being sought on charges of torture and other grave rights abuses, including concealing the forced disappearances of the students. Mexico is seeking his extradition.