A local judge in Mexico State ordered the release of eight soldiers linked to the case Ayotzinapa case. The soldiers were arrested in June 2023, after the Public Prosecutor's Office linked them to the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, Guerrero state, in 2014. Gustavo Rodriguez de la Cruz, Omar Torres Marcelo, Juan Andres Flores Lagunes, Ramiro Manzanares Sanabria, Roberto D. Los Santos Eduviges, Eloy Estrada Diaz, Uri Yachel Reyes Lazos and Juan Sotelo Diaz will all face parole judicial proceedings.
Military personnel accused of enforced disappearance must comply with a series of conditions to regain their freedom, such as posting bail of 50,000 pesos, periodically signing every 15 days before a court, retaining their passport and being banned. Approaching witnesses and victims in the case, as well as avoiding going to the state of Guerrero. The soldiers may leave this week Military Camp No. 1-A, where they remain prisoners.
For nearly 10 years, the families of the 43 students have insisted that the government investigate the role played by military personnel in the hours after the young men's disappearance. The Commission on Truth and Access to Justice in the Ayotzinapa Case (CoVAJ) has in recent years pointed to letters exchanged between troops and members of the Guerrero Unidos cartel, for which the Attorney General's Office sought to decipher the role of soldiers in Iguala. And their relationship with the organized crime group. Parents of the students protested the lack of transparency and the willingness of the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedina) to explain the military's actions.
In a statement, the Undersecretary for Human Rights and President of CoVAJ, Arturo Medina Padilla, expressed his disagreement with the judge’s decision to release the eight soldiers. “Once again, members of the judiciary resort to the so-called procedure SabadazosThe statement said, without considering the rights of the victims and the mothers and fathers of missing young people in a matter that involves serious human rights violations. Medina Padilla noted that in the new court order, “these members of the armed forces are not exempted from the charges, and they will remain subject to the procedures until the corresponding ruling is issued.”
The Prosecutor General's Office also expressed its rejection of the judicial decision and stressed that the judges involved in the decision granted “undeserved advantages” to the army. “In the face of this closure, completely unfair to the victims and to the Mexican State, given the seriousness of the crimes committed in the Ayotzinapa case, this federal social representation will immediately provide the corresponding resources to guarantee the rights and safety of the victims,” the Public Ministry said in a statement published on Sunday afternoon.
In recent weeks, the families of the 43 students have experienced disputes with the administration of President Andres Manuel López Obrador. The government offered the parents to open the files containing the case's evidence for their own eyes only, but when the relatives requested the assistance of a group of experts commissioned by Mexico's Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to review them, the government refused. Moreover, a large part of the disagreements between the current government and the students' families lies in the need for the Mexican military to hand over documents and evidence, which the armed forces have repeatedly denied. This rejection was supported by Lopez Obrador.
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