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Friday, July 12, 2024

El Salvador Transfers 2,000 Gang Members to Mega-Prison Cecot

El Salvador transfers 2,000 alleged imprisoned gang members to mega-prison. More than 2,000 gang members who were imprisoned in different prisons across the country were transferred to the Center for the Confinement of Terrorism (Cecot), the mega-prison symbolizing the fight against gangs in El Salvador, announced President Nayib Bukele.

“We transferred more than 2,000 gang members from the prisons of Izalco (west), Ciudad Barrios (east), and San Vicente (southeast) to Cecot,” the president indicated on his account on the social network X.

Cecot, inaugurated at the beginning of 2022, has a capacity for 40,000 inmates, and the Salvadoran Government ensures that it is the “largest in America.” According to official figures, until February of this year, 12,500 gang members from the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 were imprisoned in the prison, detained under a state of exception questioned by human rights organizations for the detention of “innocents who suffer” in jail.

The state of exception, under which more than 80,000 alleged gang members have been detained, was decreed by Congress at the request of Bukele in response to an escalation of violence that claimed the lives of 87 people between March 25 and 27, 2022. In a video posted by Bukele on the X network, gang members can be seen dressed only in white shorts and barefoot while being led running into Cecot under a strong security device of the police and guards of the General Directorate of Penal Centers.

“There they will pay for the crimes committed against our people; incommunicado with the outside, with no possibility of leaving, nor of ordering crimes from prison,” President Bukele assured. Cecot was built in Tecoluca, 74 km southeast of San Salvador, and occupies 166 hectares, on 23 of which eight pavilions were built within a perimeter with 19 watchtowers.

Among the seven security rings of the prison, built at an undisclosed cost by the government, there is an 11-meter-high concrete wall extending 2.1 kilometers, crowned by electrified wires. There are devices to block communications with the outside. The inmates, who are guarded by 250 police officers and 600 soldiers, sleep in steel sheet bunk beds, without a mattress or pillow.

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