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Mass arrest among Mexican officials in case of kidnapped students

Former Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam has been arrested in Mexico in connection with the case of the 43 missing students.

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Mass arrest among Mexican officials in case of kidnapped students

Former Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam has been arrested in Mexico in connection with the case of the 43 missing students. The Attorney General's office justified the move on Friday with allegations of abusive behavior in the investigation into the disappearance of students at a radical teachers' college in 2014.

Prosecutors also announced the issuance of arrest warrants in the case against 20 army officers, five local officials, 33 local police officers, 11 Guerrero state police officers and 14 gang members. This is the first arrest of a former Attorney General in Mexico's recent history and one of the largest mass arrests of Mexican Army soldiers by civilian law enforcement officials.

Jesús Murillo Karam served as Attorney General from 2012 to 2015 under then-President Enrique Peña Nieto. The office of current Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero said Murillo Karam faces charges of torture, misconduct and enforced disappearance. In 2020, Gertz Manero said Murillo Karam was implicated in "orchestrating a massive media deception" and leading a "general cover-up" in the case.

A day before the arrest of the ex-attorney general, a truth commission set up to investigate the case had declared that the army bore at least part of the responsibility in the case. A soldier infiltrated the group of students and the army did not stop the kidnappings even though they knew what was happening.

Corrupt local police officers, other security forces and members of a drug gang abducted the students in the Guerrero town of Iguala on September 26, 2014. The motive is still unclear eight years later. The bodies were never found, but fragments of burned bones have been attributed to three of the students.

Murillo Karam had said the students were handed over to a drug gang who killed them, burned the bodies in a rubbish dump and dumped the remaining bone fragments in a river. Subsequent investigations by independent experts and the Attorney General's Office, confirmed by the Truth Commission, dismissed the idea that the bodies were burned at the Guerrero Municipality dump. There was no indication that any of the students might still be alive.

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