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Relatives of the 43 students missing in Iguala: 'The government continues to lie'

Friends and relatives of the 43 students who went missing last September in the city of Iguala, in southwestern Mexico, held a meeting Monday in the nation's capital to discuss a report authored by an independent team of forensic experts, which criticizes the government’s decision to close down the investigation.

“The report confirms that it is not possible to close the Ayotzinapa case,” said Santiago Aguirre, a lawyer with the Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez (Centro Prodh) during a press conference attended by Fox News Latino.

Aguirre added that the team’s independent, scientific report “complemented and strengthened” the families’ long-standing stance on the inquiry. 

First, he said, the report backed the idea that there was no “scientific certitude” supporting the official version of events. In addition, it showed that the agreement between parents of the victims and Mexico’s president Enrique Pena Nieto to allow the Argentinian specialists work along with the government’s experts had not been fully observed.

A four-month long probe led to the arrest of more than 70 individuals, including police officers, cartel members and the mayor of the town of Iguala and his wife, both suspected to be the masterminds of the kidnapping.

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According to the official version, the students had been arrested by local police forces from Iguala and the neighboring town of Cocula and handed over to an organized crime group - affiliated to the mayor’s wife - called the Guerreros Unidos.

The cartel members then took the students to a dump, killed them using fire arms, burnt them overnight and finally dumped their charred remains in plastic bags in the nearby river.

The inquiry was officially closed last month by Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam, who said he was able to declare, with “legal certainty,” that the 43 students were dead.

The parents never endorsed the official story and took the case to the UN’s Committee on Enforced Disappearances, in Geneva, Switzerland.

On Saturday, the Argentinian Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF), which had been working hand in hand with the Mexican prosecutor’s team of experts, joined the parents of victims in their demand that the investigation continues. They cited documents detailing several problems with the forensic work from which the official storyline was drawn.

Among other things, the Argentinian forensic team criticized the prosecutor’s office for having collected evidence from the alleged crime scene without notifying the EAAF experts.

“Today, we can say to the world, that we were not mistaken”, said Felipe de la Cruz, father of on the victims. 

“Proof in hand, we can demonstrate that [the government] continues to lie.”

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Diane Jeantet is a freelance reporter in Mexico City.

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