Cecot, the prison that is a symbol of the aggression against human rights sponsored by the Bukele government Photo: Reproduction

The government of the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, has arrested more than 21,000 innocent people since declaring an exceptional regime as a justification for fighting gangs. The estimate is from human rights activists and was published by Fantasticthis Sunday (3).

The Central American country has the highest percentage of incarceration in the world, totaling 78 thousand prisons. Considering its population of 6.3 million inhabitants, the prison population is around 2% of Salvadorans.

El Salvador has adopted the exception regime since March 2022, when the Legislative Assembly approved the measure, at Bukele’s request, for one month. With the declared war on criminal factions, the country managed to drastically reduce its homicide rate from 107 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2015 to just 2.4.

For this reason, Bukele was re-elected with more than 80% of the votes, despite those who co-opted the country’s Justice and Legislature.

The supposed peace that the Salvadoran government has achieved, however, is accompanied by a series of complaints, compiled by human rights entities, such as the NGO Cristosal.

To the Fantasticdirector Zaira Navas, a specialist in Human Rights, stated that the poor are no longer victims of gangs and have become targets of the State.

“The poor were victims of gangs. Now, with the exception regime, they are victims of the State. With so many people in prison, many children are growing up without a father, without a mother… If the government does not implement lasting social programs, if it just sticks to repression, these young people will be recruited by new criminal organizations, because the basic problems continue. They are economic, political, social and cultural,” said Navas.

The director of Cristosal leads a team that interviewed hundreds of detainees who suffered serious human rights violations during the months they spent in prison.

In addition to talking to them, Navas and his team from the law and security program at the human rights organization Cristosal interviewed family members, experts, doctors and morgue staff who handled the bodies of people who died in custody.

A new report by Cristosal, based in part on these testimonies, provides compelling evidence that the government of El Salvador committed serious state crimes, including, Navas says, crimes against humanity.

According to reports, the exception regime is so harsh that a person can be arrested for any triviality. Such as being nervous when approaching the police, having tattoos, even if they are not from the factions, being reported to the Hotline and engaging in “illicit groups”, a generic expression that can mean anything.

Once taken into custody by the police, the citizen disappears into the prison system and the family is left to try to find him. As the prisoners are poor, they cannot afford a lawyer. At the Public Defender’s Office, relatives get up early in line.

“My son has been in jail for two years. He has no criminal record. They just took him away, without saying why. I can’t live without him anymore. He works, helps me with the household bills”, laments the mother of a prisoner to the news report. Fantastic.

Source: vermelho.org.br

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