24 Nov 2022 14:09 GMT
“Fencing off criminals allows us to carry out the extraction processes without them being able to flee to other places,” the Salvadoran president remarked.
The President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, ad on Wednesday the implementation of the ‘fifth phase’ of its Territorial Control Plan (PCT) against gangs, called ‘Extraction’.
As explained by the president during an event with the Armed Forces, the strategy consists of removing all the gang members who continue to commit crimes in neighborhoods and communities throughout the country, by installing security fences that prevent them from escaping.
“Fencing off criminals allows us to carry out the extraction processes without them being able to flee to other places (…) they practically have to stay inside waiting for us to go get them“, detailed Bukele.
In front of 14,000 members of the Army, the Head of State explained that after being detained by the security forces, the criminals must be handed over to the corresponding authorities, who will be responsible for processing them, in accordance with the regulations on criminal matters introduced in the country in March.
“We always have to be clear that in all victories the glory belongs to God. He has decided to heal El Salvador, and I am not saying it, we see it in the towns and communities, the earth is healing and God is using you as its instruments”, President @nayibbukele. pic.twitter.com/RDthATxzVR
— Presidential House 🇸🇻 (@PresidenciaSV) November 24, 2022
Under the new provisions, those convicted of leading a “terrorist group” face 40 to 45 years in prison instead of the previous legal maximum of 14 years. Meanwhile, whoever collaborates or is a member of a gang will be punished with 20 to 30 years in prison compared to three to six and three to five, respectively, that were previously established.
The “war on gangs”
The territorial control plan was announced by Bukele in June 2019, just 20 days after taking office. This strategy, which aims to put an end to crime in El Salvador, consists of seven phases, of which five are already in force (preparation, opportunities, modernization, incursion and extraction).
However, the plan intensified last March, when the president decreed the call “war against gangs” following the decision of Congress to approve a state of emergency. The measure allows arrests without judicial authorization and suspends some constitutional rights and freedoms. Since then more than 55,000 people have been detained, all labeled by the government as “terrorists” and “gang members.”
“This Territorial Control Plan and this war against gangs has been a success, and not only because of the numbers, 58,000 captured, millions of dollars seized, millions of dollars in drugs, weapons, vehicles; We have closed companies belonging to these criminal groups, ordered the jails. We are building the largest prison in the country, where we are going to put all these criminals out of access to the communities, totally isolated from communications and the honest population,” Bukele remarked.
According to reports from the Ministry of Security, the number of murders registered in El Salvador went from 2,373 in 2019 to 1,147 in 2021, a decrease of 51.7%. For its part, the Government of El Salvador holds that this year “is heading to be the safest in the history of El Salvador”.
A survey published in September by the CID Gallup analysis house revealed that 95% of the rescuers approve the strategy implemented by Nayib Bukele.
Meanwhile, relatives of the prisoners and human rights organizations have denounced that the measure has served for the public force to carry out “arbitrary arrests.”
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