World / Crime & Legal

Mexico wants full probe into botched case of 43 missing students believed slain


Mexico’s president said Wednesday he will push the country’s attorney general and judicial council for a full investigation into officials accused of botching the investigation into the 2014 disappearance of 43 students so badly that the principal suspects are being freed.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s announcement came following the weekend release of Gildardo Lopez Astudillo, which sets a precedent that experts say could lead to the release of 50 more suspects in a case that has come to symbolize Mexico’s human rights crisis.

The releases would be in addition to 53 of the original 142 suspects who have already been set free, said Deputy Interior Secretary Alejandro Encinas. He blamed authorities’ fabrication of evidence, use of torture and a general coverup for destroying a case where real evidence existed to prosecute those responsible.

“It’s a very serious justice issue and because of that we’re going to formally file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office and the judiciary in this case,” said Lopez Obrador.

Authorities say the Ayotzinapa normal school students were abducted by police in Iguala, Guerrero state, and handed over to the drug gang Guerreros Unidos. Lopez Astudillo allegedly headed the gang in Iguala.

Jesus Murillo Karam, attorney general under President Enrique Pena Nieto, infamously announced the “historic truth” about the students’ disappearance. He said that the students were killed and their bodies incinerated at a garbage dump. But independent experts said there was no evidence to support that conclusion.

“The poorly named ‘historic truth’ was built with a foundation of coverup, fabrication of evidence and torture to the benefit of the perpetrators and against the victims’ rights,” Encinas said. “The historic truth collides with reality.”

Encinas made clear Murillo Karam and other top officials involved in the case should be included in the investigation.