HomeNewsBriefMexico Tortured 'Perpetrators' of Student Massacre: Report
BRIEF

Mexico Tortured 'Perpetrators' of Student Massacre: Report

HUMAN RIGHTS / 16 DEC 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

A journalistic investigation casts serious doubts on the official version of the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico, alleging that federal police participated in the attacks and that suspects were tortured before confessing.

According to an investigation conducted by Mexican magazine Proceso, which was based on official documents, videos, and witness testimonies, the September attacks on the students in Guerrero, Mexico were carried out by the federal police with either the complicity or collaboration of the army.

An unedited report compiled by the government of Guerrero revealed that federal and state security forces were monitoring the students from the moment they left their teacher's college, reported Proceso. The report also showed that the shootings targeting the students were reported to Mexico's Center of Control, Command, Communications and Computation (C4), which both the federal police and the military have access to.

Videos taken by students from the teacher's college (see below) provide additional context about what may have happened that night. In one video, a student says, "The police are leaving…the federal police are staying and they are going to want to hassle us."

The documents obtained by Proceso also provide evidence that the witnesses whose accounts of the attacks led to the official version of events were tortured prior to giving their testimony. According to the lead reporter in the investigation, the documents list physical signs that the witnesses had been beaten and abused, and indicate that in at least five cases, testimonies were obtained using torture.  

InSight Crime Analysis

The findings of Proceso's investigation undermine the official version of the attacks presented by President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration. According to the Mexican government's account, local police following orders from the mayor of Iguala attacked the students and handed them over to the Guerreros Unidos criminal group, who killed them and burned their bodies.

Evidence that the testimony supporting this account was obtained using torture detracts from the credibility of this version of events. Given the federal police's alleged participation in the attacks, it is possible that they coerced witnesses into giving an account of the disappearances that did not involve federal security forces.

This certainly wouldn't be the first time Mexican police and military have been accused of torture. According to Amnesty International, 1,505 cases of torture or abuse perpetrated by security forces were reported in 2013, up nearly 600 percent from 2003. Similarly, military deployments to fight crime in Mexico have coincided with increases in reports of human rights violations.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

In addition to casting doubts on the official version of events, Proceso's investigation also raises the disturbing possibility that what initially appeared to be a welcome degree of openness about the investigation on the part of Mexican authorities might have actually been part of an elaborate cover-up.

The full degree of federal complicity in the disappearance of the students has yet to be determined, but one thing is for certain: if the federal police were involved in the attacks, Peña Nieto's new police reform proposals will not be enough to improve Mexico's security. 

Click through the timeline below to review all the major developments in the disappearance of the 43 Guerrero students, and the resulting fallout. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COVID AND CRIME / 12 JAN 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has forced migrant shelters in Mexico to close or limit capacity, exacerbating an already precarious situation for…

EL SALVADOR / 17 DEC 2020

As El Salvador battles widespread allegations of fraud during the coronavirus pandemic, its most senior police official is now accused…

KIDNAPPING / 22 SEP 2021

The Venezuelan police have stepped in amid a spate of violent crimes caused by gang members pretending to sell cars…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…