As the two-year anniversary of the Iguala mass kidnappings nears, international investigators have criticized the Mexican government for its lack of cooperation, finding their investigation hampered by the government’s refusal to hand over evidence. For more than a year now, the independent investigators have been trying to get to the bottom of how and why 43 students from an Ayotzinapa teachers college in Mexico disappeared in September of 2014 – an event that led to massive social unrest, as protestors decried issues of government impunity, generalized corruption and general incompetence.
Over the weekend, the Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos Independientes (GIEI) finally released a comprehensive, 608-page report contradicting the government’s official account of what happened that night (the government alleges that a gang kidnapped and killed the students from Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgo, an Ayotzinapa teachers college.)
According to The New York Times, the investigator panel found that Iguala law enforcement officials – who have been linked to a powerful drug cartel – were actually involved in the disappearance, opening fire on the students as they headed to Mexico City to participate in a march commemorating a 1968 student massacre. The report details a coordinated attack that ended with the murder of student Aldo Gutiérrez, who was shot in the head, and the disappearance of others who were among the 43 to never resurface. “[The students] all felt confusion, terror and helplessness,” according to the report.
The report also alleges that Mexican officials obtained confessions from suspects in custody under duress, according to Fusion, which would undermines the government’s version of the events that took place. Suspect Patricio Reyes Landa, for example, claims that the police went to his house and started physically assaulting him. “They hauled me aboard a vehicle, they blindfolded me, tied my feet and hands, they began beating me again and gave me electric shocks, they put a rag over my nose and poured water on it,” he said. “they gave me electric shocks on the inside of my mouth and my testicles. They put a bag on my face so I couldn’t breath, several hours passed and later they would tell me that if someone ever asked if they had beaten me I should say I fell from a fence because if not they would go against my wife and daughters, they threatened they would turn me into pieces and throw me inside a bag…”
The GIEI also suggests that the day before the Procuraduría General de la República found the bodies of the students in a landfill, the PGR planted evidence at the site themselves. This seems to be corroborated by a video that shows PGR members at the site of the landfill a day before they supposedly found the remains, according to Aristegui Noticias.