SAN SALVADOR ( Associated Press) – El Salvador extended a state of emergency for the ninth time on Wednesday to keep up with the fight against gangs, despite criticism from opposition politicians and human rights organizations, who demand the measure be scrapped because they say This has given rise to arbitrary arrests and mistreatment by the authorities.
The Legislative Assembly approved the extension of the provision for 30 more days as requested by the government, whose Speaker Nayib Bukele enjoys a high degree of popularity according to surveys because of his energetic fight against crime.
“We have regained control of the state, now we have authority and we are a strong country. We are changing the reality of Salvadoran families,” Security Minister Gustavo Vilatoro said while presenting the petition to the legislature and justifying the new expansion. Where did you go?
Villatoro took the opportunity to respond to human rights organizations, who have criticized the Salvadoran government’s imposition of a state of emergency. “To the enemies of the people, who ask to stop this measure, I want to say that the population does not accept their proposals,” he said.
“We are not going to administer the country as the opposition wants, because we will not return to the past. We are going to treat the criminal as such and the full weight of the law will fall on him,” warned congressman Ernesto Castro. Gave.
According to a recent poll by LPG Data from El Salvador’s morning newspaper La Prensa Gráfica, 87.8% of Salvadorans approve of President Nayib Bukele’s performance, and 89.5% support the fight against gangs. According to another poll by the NGO Funduango, 89.8% of Salvadorans approve of the exception regime, which constitutes an increase from the approval level of 83.7% in June.
Authorities said they have caught more than 60,000 people from a registry of 76,600 gang members in nearly nine months of emergency rule.
Attorney for the Defense of Human Rights Raquel Caballero confirmed that 2,100 people have been released because of their lack of gang ties and announced that in January she would launch a verification plan on prison conditions with the support of the United Nations and the UN. Will do Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
On 27 March, when 62 murders were recorded in one day, at the request of President Bukele the Legislative Assembly with a pro-government majority approved for the first time the imposition of a state of emergency for another 30 days.
From January 1 to December 13, 602 homicides have been recorded, according to official data, down from 1,061 recorded in the same period in 2021.
At the current rate of 10 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, El Salvador will close 2022 with 633 homicides. So far in December, there have been four homicides and 10 days of homicidal violence without confirmed deaths.
The so-called Mara or gangs, which have a presence in populated areas and communities in the country, are involved in drug trafficking and organized crime. According to officials, they also extort money from traders and transport companies and kill those who refuse to pay.
The new extension was approved with the votes of 67 of the 84 representatives of the unicameral National Assembly. Nine opposition delegates abstained, six voted against and two did not attend the session.
The exception rule was last extended on 15 November and authorities have warned they will continue to enforce it until the last gang members are cleared from the streets.
State of exception that limits freedom of association and suspends the right of an individual to be duly informed of their rights and the reasons for the arrest, as well as to have the assistance of a lawyer.
In addition, it increases the period of preventive detention from 72 hours to 15 days and allows authorities to intercept the correspondence and cell phones of people they consider suspicious.
In March, the Salvadoran Congress also approved some reforms to the penal code to make it a crime to be part of a gang, which can carry a prison sentence of 20 to 40 years. The ringleaders can be sentenced to 40 to 45 years.
Offenses related to organized crime, which involve gangs, are punishable by up to 20 years in prison for juveniles over the age of 16 and up to 10 years for juveniles over the age of 12.
Human Rights Watch and Cristobal organizations denounced that they have documented more than 1,000 serious cases of human rights violations by soldiers and police officers during the emergency regime. He claimed to have documented the deaths of at least 90 people in the custody of state officials.
They hold them responsible for violations of the right to defense and due process, enforced disappearances, torture, and mass arrests of people who claim no gang affiliation.