Relatives of 43 Mexican students who went missing in 2014 protest outside the Israeli embassy in Mexico City demanding the extradition of a fugitive former investigator – Copyright AFP SAUL LOEB
Relatives of 43 Mexican students who went missing in 2014 held a protest outside the Israeli embassy on Wednesday demanding the extradition of the former chief investigator wanted in connection with the case.
Tomas Zeron, formerly head of Mexico’s Criminal Investigation Agency, is accused of manipulating the investigation into one of the country’s worst human rights tragedies.
Zeron is one of the architects of the so-called “historical truth” – the official version of the case presented in 2015 and rejected by the relatives of the victims and independent experts.
“Israel is protecting Thomas Zeron, a human rights violator who tortured those he detained at the time to establish ‘historical truth,'” Meliton Ortega, a spokesman for student families, told AFP.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Mexico City with no visible police presence.
Some carried photographs of missing students, while others drew graffiti on the walls of the embassy.
Mexico has repeatedly asked Israel to extradite Zeron, who is accused of kidnapping, torturing suspects and manipulating evidence, allegations he denies.
43 student teachers commandeered buses in the southern state of Guerrero to go on a demonstration in Mexico City before they went missing.
Investigators say they were picked up by corrupt police and handed over to a drug cartel who mistook them for members of a rival gang, but what exactly happened to them remains debatable.
So far, the remains of only three victims have been identified.
Last month, a truth commission tasked by the current government with investigating the atrocity branded the case a “state crime” involving agents of various agencies.
It stated that members of the armed forces were “clearly liable” either directly or through negligence.
Prosecutors announced last month that arrest warrants had been issued for more than 80 suspects, including 20 military personnel, 44 police officers and 14 cartel members.
On the same day, former Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam, who led the controversial “historical truth” investigation, was detained on charges of enforced disappearance, torture and obstruction of justice.
Last week, the government announced the arrest of an army general and two other military personnel.