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Mexico revives the case of the 43 missing students

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One of the most violent cases in the recent history of Mexico has become news, when a video was released in which public officials torture a detainee

Mexico revives the case of the 43 missing students
Leer en español: México revive el caso de los 43 estudiantes desaparecidos

Five years will be completed on September 26 of the questioned disappearance of 43 students in the state of Guerrero and a recent video could be proof that some of them were tortured. The video shows a young man tied with his eyes covered with tape, who is interrogated and then asfixiated with a bag to answer the questions of uniformed men.

On several occasions, some international organizations, such as the UN, suggested that the official version was not true and had contradictions and lack of clarity, including a report that demonstrated the torture by public officials of the disappeared students. The video would prove these claims, because "in 23 of the cases, the detainees pointed to agents of the ministerial police, attached to the federal Prosecutor's Office. One of those 23 is the man that appears in the video", according to El País.

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The publication of the video puts once again in the eye of the storm the validity of the process, which in the past years has been criticized. Some media have reported that a due process has not been carried out to clarify the facts, just as the Attorney General has been questioned for failing to conduct the proper interrogations and to judge the military involved in the case. The video would also be probative material for what a federal court had requested in 2018: "replenish the proceedings for the allegations that the confessions and charges of several detainees, accused of participating in the disappearances, were obtained through torture," El País reported.

According to the BBC, the video identified Carlos Gómez Arrieta, who in 2014 was the director of the Ministerial Police of the Attorney General's Office and, until a few days ago, was the Undersecretary of Public Security of Michoacán. Upon hearing the video, Gómez resigned.

September 26, 2014

The Ayotzinapa case occurred in the context of a violent persecution of the authorities against students of the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, who were traveling to demonstrations in buses allegedly stolen.

Normal students were known for their social acts for which they had sometimes stolen buses and gasoline to move from one place to another, and some were related to former guerrillas of the 70s. Previously they had already had confrontations with the authorities for the same reason.

However, it was on the night of the 26th and early morning of September 27, 2014, that the events worsened as never before. In the clashes, students and other bystanders who were not involved in the dispute died, as well as teachers and journalists who were also injured. The next morning, 57 people had disappeared. Although hours later it was known that 14 of those people were already with their relatives, the other 43 students did not appear.

According to a first file, "Iguala police attacked the students, forced them to get off the bus and then to get on patrol cars. They took them to the south, to Mezcala, to Chilpancingo," and they did not appear again, according to El País.

Before the Attorney General's Office and the government gave their official report, former President Enrique Peña Nieto was highly criticized for downplaying the disappearances and not focusing on knowing the truth.

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Finally, the report showed that the authorities had handed over the students to Guerreros Unidos, a criminal group in that state that is engaged in heroin trafficking. It had been these criminals, who also had ties to the mayor of Iguala, who had kidnapped, murdered and then burned the 43 normal students. The reason had been the supposed links of the students with Los Rojos, rival criminal group of the United Warriors.

It was already known

Although this is the so-called 'historical truth', social movements, family and organizations have been against these claims, although some members of Guerreros Unidos accepted the charges for incinerating the bodies.

The United Nations published a report called "Double Justice", which already documented the torture of Carlos Canto, who appears in the video, and another 34 detainees. In a statement from the office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, they say that the "chain of complicity and cover-ups around the case" must be stopped.

The fact that the video has come to light "is evidence to society of torture against one of the alleged cases in the Ayotzinapa case," the same statement said, adding that this is a way of pressuring the government to continue with the investigations to really clarify what happened and the whereabouts of the 43 students.

For this, since the beginning of 2019, the current president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, ordered the creation of a Truth Commission on the Ayotzinapa case. However, they have not yet published any report or progress.

 

LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez

Translated from "México revive el caso de los 43 estudiantes desaparecidos"

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