Mexico to replace embattled attorney general

AP News
|
Posted: Feb 27, 2015 3:36 PM
Mexico to replace embattled attorney general

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's embattled attorney general, Jesus Murillo Karam, is leaving the post to take a new cabinet-level job as head of urban and rural development.

The outgoing attorney general has weathered scathing criticism over his handling of the Sept. 26 disappearance of 43 students in southern Guerrero state.

He had also been criticized for being slow to investigate evidence that soldiers killed about 15 criminal suspects after they surrendered in June at a warehouse near the Guerrero border.

President Enrique Pena Nieto's office announced Friday that Murrillo Karam would be sworn in as head of the Department of Rural and Urban Development.

An official who was not authorized to be quoted by name said his replacement as attorney general will be a former senator and electoral-law prosecutor, Arely Gomez.

Murillo Karam, a former governor and legislator, became famous for an off-the-cuff comment at a news conference in November about the case of the 43 students.

He abruptly signaled an end to questions, turning away from reporters and saying, "Ya me canse," which means "Enough, I'm tired."

The phrase was deemed offensive for parents of the missing students who, five months later, still have no concrete information on what happened to their sons.

Police in the Guerrero city of Iguala detained the 43 and allegedly turned them over to a drug gang known as Guerreros Unidos. Murrillo Karam claimed his investigations indicated the gang had killed the young men, burned their bodies and dumped the charred bone fragments and teeth into a nearby river.

However, a DNA match has been found among the fragments for only one of the 43; a final round of tests is still being carried out by a lab in Innsbruck, Austria, but is likely to destroy the remainder of the fragments.

Under Murillo Karam, the attorney general's office appeared to be slow to investigate evidence that army troops had killed most of the 22 criminal suspects corned at a warehouse near the town of San Pedro Limon on June 30, after they had surrendered.

Murrillo Karam's office did not appear to carry out its own forensic examination of the scene of the shootings for more than two months, by which time the scene of the crime had been open to passers-by for weeks. And it took him almost three months to bring charges seven low-ranking soldiers, including a lieutenant, in the case.