Saturday, Feb 04, 2023

El Salvador has arrested 55,000 as part of ‘war’ on gangs

El Salvador has arrested 55,000 as part of ‘war’ on gangs

The crackdown continues as parliament extended emergency powers that allow authorities to arrest suspects without warrants.

More than 55,000 suspected gang members have been arrested since President Nayib Bukele declared a so-called “war” on criminal groups seven months ago, the country’s justice minister has said, as the legislative assembly voted in favour of a further extension of a controversial state of emergency.

“There have been more than 55,000 captures” of alleged gang members since March, when the government was handed emergency powers to arrest such suspects without a warrant, justice minister Gustavo Villatoro said on Friday.

His statement comes as the parliament decided to extend in the early hours of Saturday a state of emergency to combat gangs.

Under the emergency measures, civil liberties have been curtailed and police power expanded, triggering alarms from rights groups.

Translation: #Plenaria77 With 67 votes in favour, we extend the #ExceptionRegime to continue the #GangWar and ensure the wellbeing of the population.

“The gang war does not stop, this is a decisive step to gain the peace of mind that was stolen from the people for years and to build El Salvador that we all deserve. We are living true democracy, doing what good Salvadorans demand,” the justice minister said on Twitter following the vote.

‘Arbitrary arrests’

The emergency measures restrict free assembly, curtail the right to be informed of the reason for arrest and access to a lawyer, and allow for detention for up to 15 days without charges. Rights groups and residents say the detentions amount to arbitrary arrests, with many targeted based on their appearance or where they live.

In early May, Human Rights Watch and the Cristosal human rights organisation said they had “received credible allegations of dozens of arbitrary arrests, including some that could amount to short-term enforced disappearances, and of two deaths of people in custody”.

Meanwhile, legislation passed since the state of the emergency was first approved includes laws that allow the lengthening of sentences for gang-related crimes and reducing the age of criminal responsibility to 12.

They also include a law that authorises prison sentences of 10 to 15 years for news media that reproduce or disseminate messages from the gangs, a move that rights groups say hinders press freedom and gang-tracking groups.

The arrests come on top of 16,000 that had already been made before the emergency powers were granted. The wave of detentions is unprecedented in the country of 6.5 million people, which has suffered decades of violent crime driven by powerful gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18.

“We are winning the war (against organised crime) and we will continue to deploy thousands of police and soldiers every day to arrest these terrorists,” Villatoro, the justice minister, said.

Police and military forces have seized 1,644 firearms, 2,026 vehicles, 12,842 cell phones and $1.2m, he added.

To cope with an influx of inmates, El Salvador’s judicial authorities are building a huge prison for 40,000 suspected criminals in Tecoluca, a rural area in the centre of the country.

The jail is expected to be completed by the end of the year.


Related Articles

Tennessee Bill Would Imprison People for 3 Years If They 'Lie' About Rape to Get an Abortion.
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he will block Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman