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Crime: El Salvador wants to catch another 30,000 gangsters

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Almost a year ago, the government of El Salvador declared a state of emergency and declared war on the gangs. Human rights organizations denounce, among other things, arbitrary arrests.

After the mass transfer of gang members to a new mega-prison in El Salvador, the government plans to arrest another 30,000 suspected criminals.

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“Some are still in hiding, others have left the country,” Defense Minister René Merino said in a television interview. In the fight against the gangs, a state of emergency was declared in the Central American country almost a year ago. About 65,000 suspected criminals have since been arrested. The order is only fulfilled when the last gangster is in court, said Merino.

The government of conservative President Nayib Bukele brought the first 2,000 suspected gang members to the new high-security prison in Tecoluca, around 75 kilometers south-east of the capital San Salvador, in a high-profile action on Friday. A video released by Bukele showed the prisoners having to enter the prison running with their wrists tied or their feet in white shorts, barefoot and with tattooed torsos.

“The state of emergency has proven to be the most effective tool in the fight against the gangs,” Merino said on the program “Frente a Frente”. In order to fight crime, a number of basic rights were restricted in the country with around six million inhabitants on March 27 last year. Human rights organizations have denounced arbitrary arrests, violations of the right to legal representation and deaths in custody. According to the surveys, the harsh measures against crime are still very popular among the population. According to official information, the number of murders has fallen sharply under the state of emergency.

Source: Stern

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