-MEDIAPART- Commission May 2022

In collaboration with the journalist Caterina MORBIATO

-LE FIGARO- Commission  March 2023

In collaboration with the journalist Quentin DUVAL

In El Salvador, the war on gangs - Mara Salvatrucha 13 and Barrio 18 - declared in 2019 by President Nayib Bukele has taken a radical turn in recent months. On March 27, in response to a bloody day that resulted in a total of 62 homicides, the Salvadoran government implemented an emergency regime to crack down on gangs. In those first four months, the regime racked up more than 50,000 arrests of people allegedly linked to gangs and more than 60 deaths in prison.

It has also severely curtailed some basic rights, allowing authorities to make arrests without evidence, deny citizens the right to legal representation, or tap people's phones without a warrant.
The wave of mass arrests has caused panic and uncertainty, especially in poor neighborhoods: many mothers report that their children are accused only of having a tattoo and often have no idea where they were taken.
"The president has destroyed our lives, so we can also sue him for the injustice he commits against innocent people," says Jessica Ramírez, a woman from the department of Usulután in eastern El Salvador. In early May, her 20-year-old son, Luis Enrique Torres Ramírez, was arbitrarily detained and transferred to La Esperanza prison, the largest in San Salvador. Since her detention, Jessica has spent many weeks sleeping in front of the prison in unhealthy conditions, exposed to extreme temperatures and exhaust fumes, and without enough money to feed herself. She finally had to resign herself and return home where she is still waiting to find out what will happen to her son.
Like Jessica, for months hundreds of women slept outside the country's main prisons in hopes of receiving news of their loved ones. Local and international NGOs have documented and denounced multiple human rights violations. Despite this, the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador approved for the sixth time the extension of the emergency regime and is in effect until the end of October. For now, hundreds of families continue to live in uncertainty and pain while Bukele's totalitarian crusade does not seem to be coming to an end yet.
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