The government of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele asked the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday to approve a fourth extension of the exceptional regime to continue fighting the maras or gangswhom they now persecute in rural areas where they have taken refuge in makeshift camps.
“We have come again to request a new extension of the exception regime for another 30 days. The results that we are giving as the Security Cabinet are visible. We are going to keep the strategies firm,” said the Minister of Security, Gustavo Villatoro, when presenting the request to Congress.
After 62 homicides were reported on March 26, a level of crime not seen in years in El Salvador, Congress approved a state of emergency that limits freedom of association and suspends a person’s right to be duly informed of their rights and reasons for the arrest, as well as the assistance of a lawyer. In addition, it extends the period of administrative detention from 72 hours to 15 days and allows the authorities to seize the correspondence and cell phones of those they consider suspicious.
The regime was extended for the last time on June 22 and entered into force two days later.. Its end is set for July 24.
The authorities maintain that the circumstances that motivated the implementation of the measure persist. So far in the emergency regime, the authorities have captured 46,694 people, most of them accused of being part of these criminal structures or collaborating with the gangs.
Villatoro assured that the capture of thousands of gang members who have subjected Salvadorans for decades has managed to reduce the rates of homicides, extortion, possession of weapons and drugs.
Human rights organizations have denounced repeated irregularities, including arbitrary arrests and violations of due process.
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