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News > Latin America

Mexico: Authorities Detain Suspect in Ayotzinapa Case

  • Relatives of the Ayotzinapa students marched this Sunday to mark the 47th month since they were disappeared.

    Relatives of the Ayotzinapa students marched this Sunday to mark the 47th month since they were disappeared. | Photo: Reuters

Published 29 August 2018

The Federal Police, who have been accused by relatives of the 43 disappeared students & human rights groups of being involved, detained the suspect.

Mexico’s National Security Commission announced Tuesday the Federal Police detained a suspect in the disappearance of 43 students of a rural school in Ayotzinapa in September 2014.

AMLO to Create Truth Commissions for Disappeared People

The man detained is Juan Miguel “N,” a.k.a. “El Pajarraco,” who is believed to have participated in the crime that claimed the lives of the 43 students by transporting the bodies to a dumpster in Coluca, Guerrero.

El Pajarraco faces two detention orders for his links with organized crime, including his alleged participation in the kidnapping of the students.

According to the attorney general’s investigations, the 43 students “were delivered by municipal police of Iguala and Cocula to members of a criminal gang (Guerreros Unidos cartel), who later killed them, incinerated their bodies in a dumpster and discarded the remains near the San Juan River.”

In January 2015 Mexico’s former Attorney General Jesus Murillo claimed the case had been solved despite a series of inconsistencies in the case, which were denounced by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the relatives of the disappeared.

The investigation by the administration of outgoing president Enrique Peña Nieto has been widely criticized as unreliable due to allegations of forced and false confessions given under torture, contradictory testimonies, incompatible hypotheses and evidence tampering.

Until now 29 people have been charged for their alleged involvement in the case of forced disappearance.

Human rights groups and the students’ relatives have demanded a thorough investigation of the army and the federal police’s involvement in the disappearance, and question the feasibility of incinerating the 43 bodies in the Cocula dumpster.

Only one of the student’s body has been identified through genetic analysis.     

President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who will assume the office of the presidency in December, said he would reopen the case and establish a national truth commission to investigate all cases of forced disappearances.

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