Mexico obstructed missing students probe - experts

2016-04-24 22:13
FILE: Friends and family hold signs asking for justice for a group of people who were kidnapped.

FILE: Friends and family hold signs asking for justice for a group of people who were kidnapped.

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Mexico City - Independent experts investigating the disappearance of 43 Mexican students accused the government on Sunday of obstructing their probe and questioned the role of federal forces in the tragedy.

After a year-long investigation, the foreign experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a scathing final report that failed to resolve a case that shocked the international community and sparked protests against President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The 605-page report describes "obstructions" that the experts faced from the authorities, which became worse from January, and a "strong media campaign" against them.

The authorities showed "little interest" in moving forward with new lines of investigation and it was "impossible" for the experts to reinterview 17 suspects in prison, the report said.

"The group has also suffered a campaign that seeks to discredit people as a way to question their work," said the report written by the five-member panel - two lawyers from Colombia, another from Chile, a former attorney general of Guatemala and a Spanish psychologist.

The group arrived in March 2015 to investigate the disappearance of 43 young men in Iguala, southern Guerrero state, on September 26, 2014.

Prosecutors say the students were attacked by municipal police after the young men stole five buses that they planned to use for a future protest.

The officers then handed over 43 students to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, which killed them and incinerated their bodies at a garbage dump in the nearby town of Cocula, according to the government's account.

But the experts rejected the government's central conclusion in their first report in September last year, reiterating on Sunday that there was no scientific proof that an immense fire took place at the landfill.

The report does not say that federal police and soldiers were directly involved in the mass disappearance, but it notes that they were present at different locations that night.

Read more on:    enrique pena nieto  |  mexico

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