Mexico Releases Entire Public File On Missing 43 Students Case

After a flood of criticism over its handling of the case, the attorney general's office posted the entire redacted investigation online.

The Mexican Attorney General’s Office made public on Sunday the entire redacted file of its investigation into the case of the 43 missing students. 

The move, first announced by Mexican Attorney General Arely Gómez last month, came in response to a flood of criticism from the victims’ families, local activists and international human rights groups over the Mexican government’s handling of what has become the country’s highest-profile human rights case.

The massive publication consists of 83 volumes and 13 appendices totaling more than 53,000 pages.

Mexican daily Milenio described the release of the file as “unprecedented,” saying the country had never opened such an important case to public scrutiny while the case remained open.

Much information from the public file has already been published by Mexican journalists who obtained the documents either through leaks or using Mexican transparency laws.

Many reports based on documents from the investigation sharply contradicted the government’s version of events and indicated that many of the more than 100 people arrested in the investigation were tortured -- including the four alleged members of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel who supposedly confessed to killing the students.

On Sept. 26 of last year, Mexican police attacked dozens of students from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college in the city of Iguala. The students had traveled there to commandeer buses they planned to use to shuttle a group to an annual rally in Mexico City a few days later to commemorate the 1968 Tlatelolco student massacre.

Six people died in the series of attacks, several were injured and 43 students were abducted and never again seen alive.

Mexico’s former attorney general, Jesús Murillo Karam, said in November that local police abducted the students and handed them off to members of the Guerreros Unidos drug gang who killed the students and incinerated their bodies at a trash dump in the neighboring town of Cocula.

A panel of experts fielded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concluded in a report last month that Murillo Karam's version of events had no basis in forensic science -- echoing a criticism that independent forensic analysts had voiced for months before the IACHR report came out.

A fire large enough to burn the bodies would have required at least 30 metric tons of wood and would have had to burn continuously for more than 60 hours. No evidence that such a large fire ever took place exists at the Cocula trash site.

The IACHR report also affirmed previous reports by investigative journalists that Mexican security forces tortured several of the key witnesses in the case.

Murillo Karam continued to defend his version of events while in office even as it unraveled under public scrutiny. Gómez replaced Murillo Karam as attorney general in February.

Spanish speakers can start reading the file at the Mexican Attorney General’s Office here.

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