Ayotzinapa: Video shows federal authorities torturing suspect
Images confirm the allegations made by the United Nations
The recent release of an interrogation video from 2014 confirms a report published by the United Nations in March 2018 that concluded 34 people were tortured in connection with the investigation of the forced disappearance of the Ayotzinapa 43. The report, “Double Injustice – Human rights violations in the investigation of the Ayotzinapa case,” examined information relating to 63 individuals out of a total of 129 people prosecuted in connection with the students’ disappearance, and highlights how people were arbitrarily detained and tortured to extract information or confessions.
WARNING: This video contains graphic content and may be upsetting to some viewers
The video, posted on YouTube in early June 2019 and circulating on social media on June 21, is of torture victim Carlos Canto, one of the 34 people mentioned in the U.N. report. He was detained by agents from the federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and Ministry of the Navy on October 22, 2014. In the video, Canto is seated with his eyes blindfolded and his hands bound. A man in a federal Attorney General’s Office uniform interrogates Canto, repeatedly asking him about the events that took place in Iguala the night the students disappeared. A voice asks: "Where do you think they were taken? How many do you say they took there?" Canto answers: “Mezcala. They easily took 12 or 13. They were sitting in vans.” "Where were they delivered?" "In Tomatal," he answers. A minute later a bag is placed over Canto’s head and tightened.
The voice of the officer in the video has been identified as that of Carlos Gómez Arrieta, then-head of the Federal Ministerial Police. Following the release of the video, Arrieta resigned from his position as the Undersecretary of Public Security in the state of Michoacán.
Canto's statement casts doubt on the official version of events in Iguala on September 26/27, 2014, which from the beginning have been questioned by the families of the 43 and by The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI,) the group of investigators sponsored by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR.)
The administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto asserted that municipal police from Iguala and other nearby towns coordinated with crime organization Guerreros Unidos in the disappearance of the 43 students. According to then Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam, all were killed that night and burned in a dump in Cocula, near Iguala.
Felipe de la Cruz, the spokesman for the relatives of the disappeared students said regarding the video: ”There is no historical truth. That was based on torture, they orchestrated everything.” "[In the video] we hear how it is verified that the 43 young people were not killed or burned in the dumpster, as Murillo Karam mentioned in his report, and they were separated.“
Additionally, the lawyer for the students’ parents, Vidulfo Rosales, said in an interview with Milenio that the material is visual evidence that the methodology of the National Commission of Human Rights of Mexico (CNDH) is in question, because in their investigation they claimed Canto was not tortured.