HomeWorldFamilies of imprisoned Salvadorans denounce 'unconstitutional mass trials', demand justice and fair...

Families of imprisoned Salvadorans denounce ‘unconstitutional mass trials’, demand justice and fair legal proceedings.

Relatives of Prisoners in El Salvador Urge Supreme Court to Declare “Mass Trials” Unconstitutional

Concerns over Group Trials of Suspected Gang Members

Dozens of relatives of prisoners in El Salvador are calling on the Supreme Court to declare upcoming “mass trials” of suspected gang members unconstitutional. These special emergency provisions, approved by the country’s Congress in July, allow for the group trial of individuals with established links to various gang structures.

- Advertisement -

Fear of Wrongful Convictions

Critics of the mass trial approach argue that innocent people, who may have been captured during a crackdown on gangs, could be wrongfully convicted alongside guilty gang members. Samuel Ramirez, representing the Movement of Victims of the Regime (MOVIR), expressed concern that the law could lead to the condemnation of many innocent individuals.

Size and Timing of the Trials

- Advertisement -

In July, Justice Minister Gustavo Villatoro indicated that up to 900 defendants from the same criminal cell could be tried together. Although the provisions came into effect in August, a specific trial date has not been set. The Ministry of Justice and courts have not yet commented on the matter.

Anti-Gang Crackdown and “Mega-Prison”

President Nayib Bukele, who is seeking re-election in February, continues to advance an aggressive anti-gang campaign that has resulted in over 73,000 arrests. A key component of this campaign is the construction of a “mega-prison” located 45 miles southeast of the capital. The facility currently holds approximately 12,000 suspected members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and rival Barrio 18 gangs. Authorities claim that this prison is the largest in the Americas and has the capacity to hold up to 40,000 prisoners.

It is crucial for the Supreme Court to carefully consider the concerns raised by the relatives of prisoners and address the potential risks associated with mass trials. The rights of individuals, including the presumption of innocence, must be safeguarded throughout the legal process.

Must Read