A truth commission finds that the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico was state-sponsored

A truth commission finds that the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico was state-sponsored
FILE PHOTO: Relatives of the 43 missing students of the Ayotzinapa teacher training college take part during a news conference as they react to the report presented by members of a team of international experts, in Mexico City, Mexico, March 29, 2022. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

In 2014, 43 college students from a radical teacher training college went missing from buses in Iguala, Mexico. Initially, they were intercepted by local police and weren’t heard from or seen again afterward.

It’s not clear why they were taken, but the students remain missing. The government launched an investigation at the time, which tried to shift the blame from corrupt authorities over to gangsters. Then-Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam claimed that the students were killed by a local gang that burned their bodies in a landfill. But that was disproven pretty soon afterward. However, for years, allegations from the students’ parents and human rights protestors have said that the Mexican government was behind it. Current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised the families an investigation into the disappearance and launched a “truth" commission to get to the bottom of it.

This past Friday, a Mexican court ordered arrest warrants for 83 people supposedly involved in these disappearances. Murillo Karam, who led the state’s initial investigation of the abductions, is one of those arrested. The accused are suspected of “organized crime, forced disappearance, torture, homicide and crimes against the administration of justice." These arrests come after the truth commission’s final report, which confirmed the violent conspiracy the be state-sponsored. The commission confirmed that local cops worked with cartel gunmen to “forcibly disappear" the students. The remains of only three students have been found so far, but all of them are presumed dead.

Key comments:

Former attorney general Jesus Murillo, who served under prior president Enrique Pena Nieto, sits in a car as he is being held following his arrest over charges of forced disappearance, torture and obstruction of justice in the 2014 disappearance of 43 students, in Mexico City, Mexico August 20, 2022. REUTERS/Luis Cortes

“There is no evidence that they are alive. To the contrary, all testimony and evidence suggest they were cunningly killed and disappeared," said the deputy director of Mexico’s Human Rights Commission, Alejandro Encinas, about the missing students.

“[Murillo Karam’s arrest] is more a question of politics than justice. This action does not help the victims’ families get answers," The Institutional Revolutionary Party (to which Murillo Karam belonged) tweeted.

“There’s still a lot left to go before we can think this case has been solved," said Vidulfo Rosales, the lawyer for the students’ parents, on Mexican television.