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Mexico wants full probe in botched missing students case

September 4, 2019
FILE - In this April 13, 2019 file photo, people stand under the portraits of 43 disappeared teachers’ college students, by Chinese concept artist and government critic Ai Weiwei at the Contemporary Art University Museum, in Mexico City. One of the main suspects in the 2014 disappearance of the students in Mexico has been acquitted, released from custody on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, as justice remains elusive for one of the darkest moments of the country’s recent history. (AP Photo/Claudio Cruz, File)
FILE - In this April 13, 2019 file photo, people stand under the portraits of 43 disappeared teachers’ college students, by Chinese concept artist and government critic Ai Weiwei at the Contemporary Art University Museum, in Mexico City. One of the main suspects in the 2014 disappearance of the students in Mexico has been acquitted, released from custody on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, as justice remains elusive for one of the darkest moments of the country’s recent history. (AP Photo/Claudio Cruz, File)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — 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 the principal suspects are being freed.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s announcement came following the weekend release of Gildardo López 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 cover-up 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 López 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. López Astudillo allegedly headed the gang in Iguala.

Jesús Murillo Karam, attorney general under President Enrique Peña 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 cover-up, 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.

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