Bukele asked to extend emergency to deal with gangs

SAN SALVADOR ( Associated Press) — The government of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele asked Congress on Tuesday to approve a fifth extension of a state of emergency to continue fighting gangs, the same day a group of people called family members demanded freedom in the streets of During this extraordinary regime.

Authorities have blamed gangs for most of the crimes reported in the Central American country in recent months.

Security Minister Gustavo Vilatoro submitted an extension request for another 30 days, saying, “We have strongly affected terrorist formations, we are completing the fourth extension and we have seen Salvador have one of the safest holidays in history.” How did you enjoy it?”

They acknowledged that the issue of security needed to be worked out and promised that they would do “everything possible to guarantee the honest population that all these 50,000 terrorists and those who are missing do not come out on the streets again.”

Earlier, a group of people had gathered near the Congress to demand the release of their relatives imprisoned during the state of emergency in force since late March. With banners and messages to President Bukele and deputies, he called for the freedom to be called “victims of the regime” and tried to enter the legislative chamber to present a list of demands, but police shock forces with spikes. Barricades set up and closed step them down. No incident was recorded.

After receiving reports of 62 killings on March 26, a level not long seen in El Salvador, Congress approved a state of emergency, which limits freedom of association, the right of an individual to their rights. and suspends the right to be duly informed of the reasons for the arrest. , as well as the assistance of a lawyer. In addition, it increases the period of preventive detention from 72 hours to 15 days and allows authorities to confiscate the correspondence and cell phones of people they believe to be suspects.

The regime was last extended on 19 July and officials had already announced they would request a new extension, alleging that the circumstances prompting its implementation persist.

“My husband was kicked out of the house and he is not a criminal… He has no criminal record, he is not tainted and they took him away because they put a finger on him collaborating with the gang.” She told the Associated Press Virginia Guadalupe Solano López, 25.

Her husband, José Alfredo Vega, 26, was arrested on the night of March 27, while he was resting with his wife and four-year-old daughter in the Sisiguayo canton of the Jicquilisco municipality in the formerly Usulután department. of the country.

Together with Vega, they took one of her brothers. “What we ask the president is that they release him because he is nothing to accuse him of, he worked as a fisherman and worked as a bricklayer. Innocent people has been taken away,” assured his wife.

The woman said her husband and brother-in-law are in Izalco prison in the west of the country, and “we don’t know how they are. They won’t let me see her and I’m desperate.”

In the emergency regime so far, the authorities have arrested 49,629 people, most of whom are accused of being part of a criminal structure or collaborating with gangs.

Meanwhile, human rights organizations condemned the repeated irregularities, including arbitrary arrests and violations of due process.

The Alliance for Peace Movement, which recently set up a legal advice office, said it had received 500 complaints of arbitrary arrests, while the human rights ombudsman, Apollonio Tobar, informed journalists that the organization had no powers to investigate the deaths of underprivileged people. There are 28 open files for . Freedom during the Emergency Regime.

As per the constitution, the period of suspension of constitutional guarantee shall not exceed a period of 30 days. Once this period expires, it may be extended for the same period and through a new decree, in the event that the circumstances motivating it persist. Otherwise, the suspended warranty will be fully reinstated.

In March, the Salvadoran Congress also approved some reforms to the penal code to make it part of a gang that could face 20 to 40 years in prison. Meanwhile, the leaders could face a sentence of 40 to 45 years.

Offenses related to organized crime, which include gangs, carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison for juveniles over 16 years of age and up to 10 years for juveniles over 12 years of age.

So-called maras or gangs, which have an estimated 70,000 members, exist in populated neighborhoods and communities in the country and are involved in drug trafficking and organized crime. According to officials, they also expel traders and transport companies and kill those who refuse to pay.

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