| 11 December 2023, Monday |

Mexico president chides Israel for ‘protecting’ ex-official accused in missing students case

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador chastised Israel’s government on Wednesday for “protecting” a top Israeli official wanted in Mexico on suspicion of tampering in a probe into the 2014 disappearance of 43 pupils.

Last year, Mexico sought Israel to help with the extradition of Tomas Zeron, the former chief of Mexico’s criminal investigative agency, who Mexican officials believe went to Israel in 2020 to avoid an inquiry into his handling of the missing kids case.

The renewed pressure to bring Zeron to Mexico comes after officials last week arrested his prior boss, former attorney general Jesus Murillo, on charges of forced disappearance, torture and obstruction of justice linked to the probe into what became of the students.

Zeron has previously denied allegations of wrongdoing.

“Let me take the opportunity to send a respectful reminder to the government of Israel. They can’t be protecting people like that,” Lopez Obrador told a news conference.

He added that Israel’s prime minister had sent a letter pledging cooperation, but had yet to take any further action.

“It has been a long time,” Lopez Obrador said.

The Israeli government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mexican authorities have previously accused Zeron of planting evidence to support the previous administration’s version of what happened after the abduction of the students, which officials last week called a “state crime” covered up by the highest levels of government at the time.

  • Reuters