El Salvador approves new emergency rules to arrest suspected gang members

El Salvador’s congress approved another extension of emergency rules allowing police roundups of suspected gang members which has resulted in 65,000 arrests.

The government posted a well-produced video on social media announcing the mass transfer of inmates. The video showed the prisoners being forced to run naked and handcuffed down stairs and across bare ground. They were wearing only regulation white shorts. The prisoners were then made to sit in tightly clumped cells with their legs together.

“What, they are saying that the dictatorship didn’t give the prisoners tuxedos?” Shoeless? We’re going to take money from children’s hospitals in order to buy shoes for them. “What brand do you think they would prefer?” Bukele wrote.

Gustavo Villatoro was Wednesday’s government minister for justice, peace and security. He said that the suspect gang members would never again return to the streets. However, 57,000 of those who were arrested remain awaiting trial or formal charges.

Villatoro stated that “they are never going back to the communities and the neighborhoods, or the cities of our beloved El Salvador.”

So far, only 3,500 of the people who were swept up in this crackdown have been released.

Human rights groups claim that there have been numerous instances of prisoner abuses, and that innocent people were swept up by police raids.

Cristosal, a local rights group, documented 3,344 instances of human rights violations in the first eleven months of the state emergency. The majority of abuses involved arbitrary arrest. Family members claim that young men are arrested based on their looks or because they reside in low-income areas.

In prisons, there have been numerous complaints about poor medical treatment.

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