Experts refute official claim that Ayotzinapa students were burned in a Cocula dump
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Experts refute official claim that Ayotzinapa students were burned in a Cocula dump

In yet another spin involving the Ayotzinapa case, satellite photographs reviewed by international experts refute official claims that the bodies of the 43 disappeared students were burned in a Cocula garbage dump.

In a press conference Monday, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) said only one fire in Guerrero state took place at the time that the students disappeared, but not in Cocula — where it was raining, according to satellite photos released from September 26 and 27, 2014.

“We have the certainty, through satellite photographs, that there was no fire in Cocula’s garbage dump,” said investigator Ángela Buitrago at the event.

Records from an Iguala weather station, located 20 kilometers from Cocula, registered a 21.8 millimeter precipitation level between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., the same time the bodies were allegedly incinerated, the Guardian reported.

Investigations underway

In response, the Attorney General’s office asked the expert group to avoid jumping to any conclusions, adding that a new study regarding the Cocula fire is underway.

“The interests of this new study address the need, indicated in the GIEI report from September, for a comprehensive analysis on this matter in order to establish a scientific position,” the office said.

The experts said that the 11 military testimonies provided by the Attorney General’s office must be repeated, since the group does not know what questions prosecutors previously posed to members of Iguala’s military battalion. A large quantity of much needed information is currently missing.

The group has also prepared a document with questions and are requesting the authorities to expand the testimony to include 27 soldiers. The experts said that they must be present when soldiers give testimony to adhere with international investigation standards, according to a press release.

Previous reports

As Latin Correspondent previously reported, the Ayotzinapa tragedy has been marred by continuous inconsistencies since the 2014 student disappearances, prompting reports by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and other human rights organizations.

Almost a year ago, former Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam attempted to shelve the forced student abductions by concluding the “historic truth” was that the students had been “incinerated and thrown into the San Juan River.”

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