A report delivered by the NGO Cristosal revealed that at least 153 people died in State custody during the emergency regime decreed by Congress on March 27, 2022, in El Salvador.
The information was gathered in a report that emerged thanks to field investigations where tests carried out that included mass graves, collection of photographic documentation of the bodies and obituaries from the state Institute of Legal Medicine, as well as interviews with relatives, residents of the deceased persons and persons who were detained.
The organization's report also reveals that none of the people who died had been found guilty of the crime for which they were charged when they were arrested, four of them were women and the rest were men. It was also reported that the deaths of the detainees were mostly the result of torture and serious and systematic injuries and almost half were victims of violent deaths.
Efforts are made in the cases of torture and cruel and inhuman treatment that have been executed on people detained during the emergency regime. According to the testimonies provided by the former detainees, inhumane punishments including electric and according to the testimony provided by a 20-year-old who was confined in one of the prisons, a custodian told them that "only if they are lucky will they get out of here alive" and while they were kneeling on the ground, "they gave them electric shocks and when they entered the sector where they were going to stay they beat them again ".
"It is evident that such actions require the authorization and support of the highest level authorities in the field of security," the report states. So far there is no official report of the people who died in prisons.
69,000 people have been detained during this emergency regime and, according to Cristosal, many of them have been carried out in an "arbitrary" manner, since they were carried out "without administrative or judicial arrest warrants without prior investigation, by anonymous denunciations or by stigmatization for wearing tattoos". According to the investigations carried out with the families of the victims, they declare that many times it is the same officers who express "these are orders from the president".
The state of exception approved by Congress removes various constitutional rights, such as the right of a person to be duly informed of their rights and the reasons for their detention, as well as the right to have the assistance of a lawyer and It extends detention from 72 hours to 15 days and allows the authorities to intervene in the correspondence and cell phones of those they consider suspicious.
Despite all the criticism of his way of managing his country and this new report based on investigations that presents strong accusations, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele does not seem to have the slightest intention of backing down and only last Sunday declared he was "decisively winning the war against the gangs."