Amnesty International condemns the death of 18 people deprived of liberty during an exception system to combat gangs in El Salvador

A 16-year-old teen was arrested and deprived of liberty for 13 days after being accused of belonging to a gang during the extrajudicial system announced in El Salvador since March 27. During his first night, he was chained to the wall in a police custody center for adults and said that he was beaten up by police officers. Later, they transferred him to a juvenile shelter center, where a gang member with whom he shared a cell constantly tortured him, punched him in the head and face, kicked him in the chest and abdomen. was, and constantly threatened him.

This is just one excerpt from a report published this Thursday by Amnesty International, which condemns that, during the exception system announced by the government nb bukele In the framework of his “war on gangs”, 18 people under state guardianship who were deprived of liberty have died as of May 28, and he has warned that the coming days will be “in view of the precarious prison situation”. The number could go up.”

Thus, America’s director of Amnesty International for America, Erica Guevara Rojas, warned that “government-enforced policy could lead to international criminal responsibility,” noting that the Salvadoran authorities have committed “large-scale human rights violations, including the arbitrary detention of thousands and includes violation of due process as well as torture.” and abuse.”

In the meantime, Bukele tightened his chest and took advantage of the third anniversary of his mandate that was celebrated this Wednesday to defend himself. Exception regime, which has already been extended twice In the assembly for 30 more days, in the last one week. In a speech to the nation in the same assembly where his party has a majority, Salvador’s president stressed that “today we are very close to winning the war on gangs,” thanks to a measure that led to arrests without warrants. Is allowed. more than 36,000 terrorists”, who could have spent “up to 45 years in prison”.

By order of Bukele, the Legislative Assembly approved the above arrangement, including the suspension of several constitutional rights, when the gang killed 87 random people between 25 and 27 March, who were not initially the target of these criminal groups. was created. translate the Arrest for more than two months without warrant, Instead of the maximum period of 72 hours established by the constitution of the Central American country, the suspension of freedom of association and assembly and the right to defend and the possibility of being deprived of liberty for 15 days without going to court.

“This is the most important moment in the history of our country, this is the war between all honest Salvadorans against the criminals who kept us in worry, grief and misery for years. Today we are so close to winning, I make one. Calling upon Salvadorans to support this fight without hesitation, let’s not waste the only chance we have, because either we can do it now or we will never do it,’ he warned.

“criminalizing poverty”

However, the supposed “war against gangs” is serving, in the opinion of Amnesty International “criminalizing people in conditions of poverty”, As documented by an investigation by this organization. Specifically, it has been found that “thousands of people are being detained without complying with legal requirements, but are only being treated by the authorities as persons designated as criminals in the government’s tainted discourses, or So to have tattoos or simply to live in an area controlled by a gang, which are areas of high degree of marginalization and historical state abandonment”.

In addition, it has documented 28 cases of human rights violations, corresponding to 34 people, while it has been detected trial that can be held against 500 defendants at a time And they are resolved “briefly” without the possibility of defending themselves and practically all of them are tried by the judiciary and sent to preventive custody “even when there is no evidence”.

On the other hand, Amnesty International condemned that in practically all documented cases, people expressed that there were moments when they did not know where their relatives were kept and “in at least one case they still Do not know, which may constitute forcibly disappeared.” “. Criticizing Erica Guevara Rosas, “It is alarming to see how the three powers of the state, including the institutions of justice, are working in a highly coordinated manner to prosecute thousands of people in a nutshell, illegally and indiscriminately.”

Along the same lines, Acting Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) for America, Tamara Tarasiyuk, who have condemned that the exception system in El Salvador consists of “arbitrary arrests that lead to short-term forced disappearances because the fate of the missing is not known.” Thus, he has indicated that his organization has documented “serious human rights violations, such as arbitrary arrest and custodial abuse”.

Population BUKELE . supports the management of

Despite all this, Bukele made his debut Fourth year in office with wide public support, As reflected in various polls published this week, Salvador’s president has 87 percent approval of his administration and that seven out of ten people will also support his re-election. The president is aware of this support and attributes it to the “war on gangs” as he launched his territorial control plan as soon as he began his term in June 2019.

“Today before this gathering I have to say something that was impossible for many and until recently no one would have believed that it was so, and that we are about to win the war against gangs,” he asserted. He said, remarking that “this is the toughest battle we have ever won, an even bigger one than the pandemic.”

Bukele lamented that after the signing of peace agreements in 1992, which ended the 12 years of armed conflict that ravaged El Salvador, “the war did not end, but only changed its form and during the last 30 years”. , more than 120,000 Salvadorans were murdered by gangs without counting the tens of thousands who disappeared, with millions more extorted, wounded, assaulted, threatened, displaced and kidnapped. This forced 2 million Salvadorans to emigrate, most of them to the United States, although, in his opinion, this situation is nearing an end, thanks to the fact that his government “worked to fight that cancer”. “Erase the Root”.

Bukele insisted that, thanks to the territorial control plan, which saw the addition of 1,500 new police officers and a five-fold increase in the number of troops assigned to security, “We’re out of the most violent countries in the world for three years,” Killings have since been reduced by “over 80 percent”, to the extent that “in three years of government, we have gone 128 days without murders.” Despite this, he lamented that, at the end of March, “the gang managed to coordinate an attack on a national level, killing 87 Salvadorans,” leading Bukele to ask the Legislative Assembly to approve an exception rule. , which ends up being extended for three months.

“This type of equipment has allowed us to be able to rapidly capture gang members and destroy structures before they can plan another attack on the population,” he insisted, though he acknowledged. are that There’s a considerable number of loose gang members who are afraid to commit crimes because they know we’re going to catch them.” Along these lines, he insisted that “previously, gang members got tattoos to be proud of who they were. What else do they do, and now they put make-up on them and even burn them so as not to be recognized”.

In addition, Bukele took advantage of his speech to send a message to the international community: “Today they need to know that El Salvador is a sovereign, independent and independent country and here we are going to make decisions that we think are right for us.” admit.” For this reason, he assured that “those who want to support us are welcome to make this dream, but those who don’t, it is better to stay away because we can’t come to our house to tell them.” Will tell us what to do. Do it or order us.” As such, he denies that El Salvador is a dictatorship, but what it is has “democratic leadership, courage and perseverance”, thus responding to criticism that Bukele wields executive, legislative and judicial power. Thank you for their influence. Party, new ideas.

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