March 20, 2023

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Megaprison in El Salvador: Transferring a new group of 2,000 suspected gangsters

A second batch of 2,000 suspected gang members was transferred to El Salvador on Wednesday to the ‘biggest prison in America’, built for 40,000 inmates as part of President Nayeb Buhel’s ‘war’ on crime launched a year ago.

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“In a new move, we transferred a second batch of two thousand gangsters to the Center for Counter Terrorism (CECOT). Four thousand gangsters are now living in the most criticized prison in the world,” Mr Bukele announced on his Twitter account.

The conditions in this massive prison in Tegoluca (74 km south-east of San Salvador) have been condemned by organizations for the protection of human rights.

The Salvadoran president released photos and videos of the transfer of prisoners from Isalco prison, while Defense Minister Rene Francis Merino noted that 1,200 soldiers provided security for the operation, which was monitored by three military helicopters.

The first batch of two thousand suspected gang members was brought to CECOT on February 24.

The massive prison with high-tech surveillance opened in early February. Mr. It was built to house 64,000 suspected gang members after a crackdown on them under a state of emergency ordered by parliament at Bugel’s request.

Mr. The pictures sent by Pukele show many of the inmates chained up, tattooed, symbols of their membership in the two main gangs, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18, shirtless and barefoot, wearing only white underwear.

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Despite criticism from human rights NGOs for abuses, the “war on crime” has earned President Bukhel great acclaim.

NGO Cristosal announced last week that it had filed a complaint with El Salvador’s Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for “systematic violations of the fundamental rights” of 66 people arrested in the context of the “war on crime”. .

According to Abraham Abreko, president of Cristocel, “the rights to liberty, the rights to a fair trial, the rights to be protected and the rights to be tried by an independent and impartial judge have been violated”.

The exceptional regime allows arrests without warrants and more than 64,500 arrests have been made in the past year.