El Salvador ‘mega-prison’: Thousands transferred as part of gang crackdown



El Salvador’s government moved thousands of suspected gang members to a newly opened “mega-prison” on Friday, the latest in a crackdown on a controversial crime that has caused the Central American country’s prison population to soar. .

“This will be their new home where they will no longer harm people,” President Naib Bukele wrote on Twitter.

About 2,000 accused gang members were transferred Friday morning to the 40,000-capacity jail, considered the largest in America.

In a video posted by Bukele, prisoners in white shorts with shaved heads can be seen running from the new prison to their cells. Bear group tattoos abound.

The prisoners were stripped of their white shorts and their heads were shaved.  Many had gang tattoos.

Bukele asked his allies in El Salvador’s congress last year to pass a state of emergency, which has since been extended several times, that would suspend certain constitutional rights after a sharp increase in killings linked to violent gangs.

Since then, more than 64,000 suspects have been arrested in the criminal network. Arrests can be made without a warrant, private communications can be accessed by the government, and those arrested no longer have the right to a lawyer.

More than 64,000 suspects were arrested in the criminal network.

Human rights organizations say the policy has involved innocent people and at least a dozen people have died in police custody.

But Bukele’s campaign against the gang is very popular among Salvadorans, and the country’s security minister told Reuters it would continue until all the criminals were caught.


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