In a press conference on Thursday, López Obrador said that “a sentence for life in a hostile jail, hard, inhumane” makes it futile to continue living, according to Reuters.
At the same time, the president said that he is mindful of the harm that Guzman - the former leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel - unleashed through his crimes.
“I also have many victims in mind,” he said. “It’s something very painful.”
López Obrador said he is determined to reduce the epidemic of violence that cartels have caused in Mexico, which sees thousands of murders each month. More than 30,000 people were killed in Mexico last year.
When asked if Guzman’s sentence will lead to more violence, López Obrador said he expects just the opposite.
“We think that bit by bit the number of criminal incidents will decline,” he said, adding, “We will continue to create a better society, supported by values, that is not based on accumulating material wealth, money or luxury.”
On Wednesday, Guzman was sentenced to life in jail plus 30 years after an 11-week trial. The drug lord was ordered to forfeit $12.6 billion, which his cartel was said to have made from distributing drugs throughout the United States.
The evidence at the trial showed that Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel was responsible for smuggling mountains of cocaine and other drugs into the U.S. during his 25-year reign, prosecutors said in recent court papers. They said his “army of sicarios” was under orders to kidnap, torture and murder anyone who got in the way.
The defense argued that Guzman had been framed by other traffickers who'd become government witnesses so they could get breaks in their own cases. They also insisted his trial had been tainted by jurors improperly viewing media coverage of the case.
López Obrador expressed hope that Mexico could obtain Guzman’s assets.
“These resources, these assets legally belong to Mexico and the matter will be considered on a legal basis,” López Obrador said. “I believe that the United States will agree.”
Mexican authorities also froze 27 bank accounts linked to the cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion, which has gained prominence since Guzman was extradited.
“At this moment we are working on a national risk assessment to identify where we can find these criminal groups," said Santiago Nieto, head of the Mexican finance ministry’s financial intelligence unit, "in order to freeze the accounts and submit corresponding complaints to the attorney general."
Fox News reporter Frank Miles contributed to this report.