El Salvador continues fight against gangs, transfers 2,000 inmates to massive gang prison

by ian

El Salvador’s Congress passed yet another extension suspending some constitutional rights in the Central American country’s year-long fight against gangs late Wednesday.

The emergency powers temporarily allow arrests without warrants, government access to private communications and detentions without the right to a lawyer.

It has been extended every month since last March after a streak of murders blamed on gangs shook the country.

The state of emergency, which has seen over 65,000 alleged gang members captured, is widely popular among Salvadorans but has been criticized by human rights groups alleging arbitrary arrests, torture, and deaths of prisoners in custody.

El Salvador has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Last month, it opened a 40,000-person prison known as the Terrorism Confinement Center to relieve prison overpopulation.

It currently holds 4,000 inmates following a transfer of 2,000 suspected gang members at the behest of President Nayib Bukele. El Salvador’s Justice Minister said these prisoners will “never return” to the outside world.