Mexico’s former attorney general was arrested Friday in connection with the disappearance of 43 students in 2014, a tragedy that captured the world’s attention nearly eight years ago.
The prosecutor’s office said in a statement that it considers former Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam a suspect in the “crimes of enforced disappearance, torture and against the administration of justice.”
Murillo Karam did not resist arrest, the statement added.
His arrest came a day after a government truth commission described the students’ disappearance as a “state crime” in a report based on thousands of documents, text messages, phone records, witness statements and other evidence.
The students were traveling from a teachers’ seminar in Ayotzinapa to the southwestern city of Iguala when their bus was intercepted by local police and federal forces in September 2014.
It is not known what exactly happened next, as most of the missing students have never been found. However, bullet-riddled buses with broken windows and blood were seen in the city streets. Survivors of the original group of 100 people recounted that their buses were stopped by policemen and armed soldiers who suddenly opened fire.
According to the commission, members of the criminal group Guerreros Unidos and “agents of various institutions of the Mexican state” were involved in the students’ disappearance, said Mexican Secretary of State for Human Rights Alexander Encinas.
The case of the missing students sparked international outrage, and then-President Enrique Peña Nieto was criticized for his lack of transparency in the investigation.
Murillo Karam was at the time head of the attorney general’s office and led the state investigation into the disappearance. CNN is trying to find out if Murillo Karam has a lawyer and how he is pleading to the charges.
Current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose government created the state truth commission, has promised to clarify what exactly happened to the missing students.
Authorities have so far recovered only the bodies of three students; however, the commission believes it is unlikely that the missing students are still alive. “There is no indication that the students are still alive. On the contrary, all the testimonies and evidence show that they were killed in an insidious manner and disappeared,” Encinas said.
The commission’s report describes a deep cover-up involving several levels of local and federal government authorities. Officials concealed the facts and covered up links between authorities and gangs, according to the report.
“Federal, state and local authorities were aware of the students’ movements at all times. Their actions, omissions and involvement enabled the students’ disappearance and execution,” the report says.