Ex-prosecutor general arrested in Mexico’s Ayotzinapa 43 case

mexico ayotzinapa 43
A 2018 protest in Mexico City on the fourth anniversary of the Ayotzinapa 43 disappearance. Photo: ProtoplasmaKid / Wikimedia Commons

Mexican authorities last week arrested former Prosecutor General Jesús Murillo Karam on charges of torture, forced disappearance, and obstruction of justice in the investigation into the disappearance and murder of 43 students from the all-male Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College, in 2014. The mass kidnapping and disappearance case happened in the city of Iguala, Guerrero state, and became known as the ‘Ayotzinapa 43.’

As The Brazilian Report recently explained, new developments in the case are the result of recent independent investigations backed by the Inter‑American Court of Human Rights that demolished the previous official narrative around the case. The government and the military now face accusations of having falsified and obstructed investigations, among other wrongdoing. 

Mr. Murillo’s arrest happened one day after the Ayotzinapa Case Truth Commission (CVAJ, in Spanish) presented its final report. It is based on the analysis of over 41,000 documents and concludes that the students’ disappearance was a “state-sponsored crime” and that the previous “historical truth” uncovered by federal prosecutors under Mr. Murillo was fabricated. 

Over the weekend, Mexican prosecutors also issued arrest warrants against a further 83 people accused of involvement at different levels in the disappearances. These include military commanders, police officers, several Guerrero state-level authorities, and 14 members of the ‘Guerreros Unidos’ drug cartel, the main suspect of having slaughtered the students and disposed of their bodies — most of which were never found. 

The handling of the Ayotzinapa 43 case saw a U-turn under the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who in his 2018 election campaign promised to spare no efforts to deliver justice. On August 20, Mr. López Obrador said his government will keep working to capture all those involved in the crime.