The government of El Salvador on Wednesday sent 2,000 additional suspects to a sizable new jail created particularly for gang members, and the justice minister swore that they will never return to the streets.
The stern declaration was made at the same time as President Nayib Bukele’s administration requested yet another extension of the anti-gang emergency measures, which would extend the crackdown into its thirteenth month.
Almost 65,000 people have been detained as a result of the anti-gang campaign during the past 354 days. Innocent people have allegedly been caught up in police raids and there have been numerous incidents of prisoner torture, according to human rights organizations.
A professionally made video that was uploaded on social media by the authorities served as an announcement of the mass inmate transfer.
Just wearing the required white shorts, showed convicts being forced to run barefoot and handcuffed downstairs and over the naked ground. They were then made to sit in cells in tightly packed groups with their legs chained.
Even though over 57,000 of those detained are still awaiting formal accusations or a trial, Gustavo Villatoro, the government’s minister for justice and peace, declared that the alleged gang members will never return to the streets.
Congress still needs to ratify the expansion of the anti-gang laws, but lawmakers are expected to follow past precedents and do so.
Read more: Trans woman who had just been released from prison for child sex charges was found guilty of assaulting friend
Following a spike in gang violence that saw 62 people slain nationwide in a single day on March 27, Bukele asked for extraordinary powers to go after the gangs. Street gangs in El Salvador, like MS-13 and Barrio 18, have historically killed people and demanded money from locals.
The policies have successfully decreased homicides and are well-liked by the majority of Salvadorans. According to officials, there have been 200 days since the operation started without any homicides at all.
Police are not required to explain the circumstances surrounding an arrest or advise a suspect of their rights under the extraordinary powers, which suspend the right to association. Instead of the previous 72 hours, a person who has been arrested may be detained for 15 days without being seen by a judge and without the right to counsel.
In the first 11 months of the state of emergency, 3,344 complaints of violations of human rights were reported, according to the local rights group Cristosal.
Read more: Robots could be battling for the British army soon