Hello and welcome to the details of El Salvador approves mass trials after controversial gang roundup and now with the details
Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Tens of thousands of alleged gang members arrested during El Salvador’s state of emergency may be tried in groups, according to a measure passed by the legislature yesterday. — AFP pic/El Salvador’s presidency press office
SAN SALVADOR, July 27 — Tens of thousands of alleged gang members arrested during El Salvador’s state of emergency may be tried in groups, according to a measure passed by the legislature yesterday.
In place since March 2022, El Salvador’s state of emergency has led to some 72,000 arrests and prompted warnings by humanitarian groups and the United Nations that President Nayib Bukele’s “war” on gang violence may be leading to rights abuses.
According to the measure passed Wednesday, members “belonging to the same terrorist structure or illicit group and who have been captured while the emergency regime is in effect” may be tried in a “single criminal process.”
Security Minister Gustavo Villatoro said the mass trials could see up to 900 people tried at once.
The measure, described as being temporary, was approved by the Legislative Assembly with 67 votes out of 84.
Opposition member Jaime Guevara criticised the new law, saying it “only seeks to resolve the collapse of the judicial system due to the thousands of arrests under the state of emergency”.
Despite the criticisms over possible arbitrary detentions in the Central American nation, Bukele’s “war” has broad public support.
As part of the crackdown, security forces have at several points surrounded whole towns or neighbourhoods and searched door-to-door for gang members. The maximum sentence for gang membership has also been increased from nine years in prison to 45 years.
To house the tens of thousands of people arrested, Bukele in February unveiled what he called the largest prison in the Americas, intended to hold 40,000 suspected gang members.
In addition to the mass trial measure, El Salvador’s legislature on Wednesday raised the penalties for those who are “perpetrators by proxy” of a gang-related crime to up to 60 years in prison.
Villatoro pointed out that “gang leaders or ringleaders are the ones who will mainly receive this 60-year sentence because they are the ones who order crimes”.
Bukele, 42, announced last September that he would seek another term in office after the Supreme Court allowed him to seek re-election, sparking intense debate over its constitutionality. — AFP
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