Mexico's Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam
Mexico's Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam gives a news conference in Mexico City, Dec. 7, 2014. The Mexican Attorney General's Office reported on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, it has detained Murillo Karam, who was in charge of the investigation into the disappearance of the 43 student teachers that occurred in southern Mexico in 2014. Image Credit: AP

Mexico City: Mexican former attorney general Jesus Murillo has been arrested on charges of forced disappearance, torture and obstruction of justice in the 2014 disappearance of 43 students, Mexican officials said on Friday.

The attorney general’s office said in a statement that federal police carried out an arrest warrant issued by a Mexico City judge against Jesus M., whom a source at the office confirmed was Murillo.

Murillo, who lives in the Mexico City area, was arrested outside his home and taken to an office of the attorney general, the office said.

Murillo was attorney general from 2012 to 2015 under prior president Enrique Pena Nieto. In that time, Murillo oversaw the highly criticized investigation into the disappearance of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in the southwest state of Guerrero.

International experts criticised the official inquiry as riddled with errors and abuses, and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office in 2018 vowing to clear up what happened in the disappearance.

When questioned about the government’s move to analyse the past investigation, Murillo said he was pleased it was being looked into and was open to being questioned, local media reported in 2020.

The arrest comes a day after Mexico’s top human rights official, Alejandro Encinas, called the disappearance a “state crime” due to the government’s involvement. He also said the highest levels of Pena Nieto’s administration orchestrated a cover-up in the aftermath of the incident.

Mexico is attempting to extradite from Israel one of the former officials who served under Murillo and is accused of manipulating the investigation.