More exonerated in Mexico students case

More people have been exonerated over the disappearance of 43 Mexican students.
More people have been exonerated over the disappearance of 43 Mexican students.

Mexican courts have exonerated another 24 people implicated in one of the country's most notorious crimes, the disappearance of 43 students.

The Interior Secretary said on Sunday that 21 of the detainees were freed after courts found various violations of due process in their cases, including torture and arbitrary detention. Three remained behind bars on other charges.

Deputy Interior Secretary Alejandro Encinas criticised the decision, calling it a "mockery of justice" which encouraged "silence, complicity and impunity".

Seventy-four of the 142 people arrested in the case have now been freed, according to an updated statistic released by the Interior Secretary. Nobody has yet been convicted.

Authorities say leftist students from the Ayotzinapa teacher's school were abducted by police in the Guerrero state town of Iguala in September 2014 and handed over to the drug gang Guerreros Unidos headed by Gildardo Lopez Astudillo, who was freed earlier this month.

Jesus Murillo Karam, attorney general under President Enrique Pena Nieto, infamously announced the "historic truth" about the students' disappearance - that they were killed and their bodies incinerated at a garbage dump.

But independent experts said there was no evidence to support the conclusion that the bodies had been burned there and a team backed by the Organization of American States said Mexican investigators had overlooked other possibilities, including military involvement.

Parents of the disappeared have asked President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to initiate criminal proceedings against officials, ramp up collaboration between prosecutors and a truth commission, and require the army to answer more than 100 unanswered questions.

Since 2015, judicial authorities have said there is not enough evidence to hold a trial.

Australian Associated Press