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Mexico asks Israel to detain ex-investigator in probe into missing 43 students

Tomas Zeron, who was head of the Criminal Investigation Agency, is wanted over allegations of serious irregularities in investigation into 2014 human rights atrocity

Women holding pictures of their missing family members, who are among 43 missing students from a teachers college in the southern state of Guerrero, walk to the door of the National Palace where they will meet with Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico City, July 10, 2020 (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Women holding pictures of their missing family members, who are among 43 missing students from a teachers college in the southern state of Guerrero, walk to the door of the National Palace where they will meet with Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico City, July 10, 2020 (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

MEXICO CITY — Mexico said Monday that it had asked Israel to detain a former top investigator into the murky disappearance of 43 students in 2014 in a case that shocked the country.

Tomas Zeron, who was head of the Criminal Investigation Agency, is wanted over allegations of serious irregularities in the probe into one of the country’s worst human rights tragedies.

In July, Mexico said Zeron was in Canada and that it was seeking his extradition, but President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday that he was now believed to be in Israel.

“The government of Israel could not, I mean it respectfully, give protection to a person with these characteristics,” Lopez Obrador told reporters.

In this file picture taken on October 27, 2014 the Director of the Criminal Investigation Agency Tomas Zeron listens during a press conference at the Attorney General building in Mexico City (Alfredo ESTRELLA / AFP)

“It would not be fair or humane because there are sufficient elements to show that he acted improperly.”

Zeron is one of the architects of the so-called “historical truth,” the official version of the case presented in January 2015 by the government of then-president Enrique Pena Nieto, which was rejected by the victims’ families.

The disappearance of the teaching students in 2014 sent shockwaves around Mexico.

They had commandeered five buses to travel to a protest, but were stopped by corrupt police in the city of Iguala, Guerrero, and handed over to a drug cartel.

Prosecutors initially said the cartel mistook the students for members of a rival gang and killed them before incinerating their bodies at a garbage dump and tossing the remains in a river.

However, independent experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights rejected the government’s conclusion, and the families of the victims continue to demand answers.

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