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Zaldívar and Gertz Manero will lead a new probe into mystery of the 43 students' disappearance. Zaldívar, left, and Gertz Manero will lead a new probe into mystery of the 43 students' disappearance.

López Obrador summons top officials to seek justice for Ayotzinapa

Supreme Court chief justice and attorney general asked to collaborate on case of 43 missing students

Supreme Court Chief Justice Arturo Zaldívar and Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero will work together to seek justice in the case of the 43 students who disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, in September 2014.

President López Obrador said on Tuesday that after he met with the parents of the missing Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College students last week, he sent a letter to both men proposing that they meet with the parents on a monthly basis.

Zaldívar and Gertz accepted the proposal and the first meeting is scheduled for March 5, he said.

Finding out the truth about what happened to the 43 presumably deceased young men, and their whereabouts, is the overriding objective of the Mexican state, López Obrador told the two men in his letter.

“Nothing nor no one should prevent the clarification of the facts and the delivery of justice,” he said.

“Thus I ask you courteously, and with complete respect for the autonomy of the [judicial] power … to address … this demand for justice in a coordinated way,” López Obrador wrote.

Speaking at his regular news conference on Tuesday, the president claimed that there is a “pact of silence” among those involved in the abduction and presumed murder of the students.

“We’re asking those who participated in these incidents to speak because there is a pact of silence. It cannot be that we that we don’t know what happened if more than 100 people participated,” he said.

According to the former federal government’s official version of events – the so-called “historical truth” – the students were killed by members of the Guerreros Unidos gang after they were handed over to them by corrupt municipal police on September 26, 2014.

After killing the students, who they allegedly mistook as members of a rival gang, the Guerreros Unidos gangsters burned the bodies in a municipal dump and scattered the ashes in a nearby river, the past government said.

However, the “historical truth” has been widely questioned both within Mexico and internationally, and the former government was heavily criticized for its handling of the case.

A march for justice for Ayotzinapa, one of hundreds that have been held since 2014.
A march for justice for Ayotzinapa, one of hundreds that have been held since 2014.

Independent experts offered varying opinions about the alleged burning of the bodies.

Some concluded that there was no fire at the Cocula municipal dump, others determined that there was not a blaze of sufficient intensity to incinerate the bodies, while another team said that there was evidence of a large, controlled fire which indicated that it was possible that 43 bodies were burned there.

Many people who reject the past government’s version of events suspect that the army played a role in the students’ disappearance and that their bodies may have been burned in military incinerators.

López Obrador, whose government created a super commission to conduct a new investigation, has also rejected the “historical truth” but his administration has made little progress in its own probe.

He said Tuesday that people involved in the disappearance of the students will be offered “protection, amnesty and rewards” if they agree to speak with authorities “because it’s a matter of the state.”

“The Ayotzinapa case is a priority of our government. … We can’t rest if we don’t clarify the … matter and a lot of other things, but this is a special issue,” López Obrador said.

“Those who are in prison, those who already left, they can help us,” he said, referring in the latter case to the approximately 80 suspects who have been released due to a lack of evidence or because they were tortured during the interrogation process.

“It’s not just a matter of justice and helping the families, it’s a matter of humanism,” López Obrador said.

In his letter to Zaldívar and Gertz Manero, the president predicted that if all three branches of government – the executive, the legislative and the judiciary – work together, they will be successful in breaking the “pact of silence” that has lasted for so long.

We mustn’t “prolong impunity,” López Obrador wrote. “[We must] deliver justice and demonstrate that we are authentic representatives of a social, democratic and law-abiding state.”

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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