Tomas Zeron, the former head of Mexico's criminal investigation agency, reportedly fled to Israel in 2020 to evade an investigation into his handling of the case.

Last week, a truth commission determined that military personnel bore responsibility, either directly or through negligence, in the disappearance of 43 students.
Last week, a truth commission determined that military personnel bore responsibility, either directly or through negligence, in the disappearance of 43 students. (Eduardo Verdugo / AP)

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has rebuked Israel's government for what he called its protection of a top former official wanted in Mexico on accusations he manipulated an investigation into the 2014 disappearance of 43 students.

"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 on Wednesday, referring to his country's demand for the extradition of Tomas Zeron from Israel. 

Lopez Obrador 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.

Mexico last year urged Israel to facilitate the extradition of  Zeron, the former head of Mexico's criminal investigation agency, who Mexican officials say fled to Israel in 2020 to evade an investigation into his handling of the case.

Some 43 teaching students had commandeered buses in the southern state of Guerrero to travel to a demonstration before they went missing.

An official report on their disappearance presented in 2015 by the then government was rejected by relatives as well as independent experts and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

READ MORE: Mexico ex-top prosecutor to stand trial in disappeared students 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.

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.

READ MORE: Mexico commission blames military over 43 disappeared students

Source: TRTWorld and agencies