Newly released video showing how El Salvador's government transferred thousands of suspected gang members to a newly opened "mega prison" the latest step in a nationwide crackdown on gangs

I wonder how many people died in custody instead of in gang violence? I wonder how many of the people arrested might have been found to be completely innocent if they had access to a lawyer before their 30 year sentence? I wonder if there will be any unpleasant consequences from warehousing every violent criminal in the country in the same prison? Any kind of criminal University effect resulting in an escalation? I wonder if the human rights lawyers will have any thoughts on the identification of “members” given that el Salvadoran gang violence has a history of tattooing people against their will. Twelve year olds arrested without a warrant, eligible for 20-30 years without access to a lawyer and slapped into a jail rated for 40,000 people. It’s a Central American mega jail though - so ten years from now they’ll probably have 60,000+ in there.

Add to that the dubious nutrition and the mental health/flat out sanity damage of extensive solitary confinement - especially for twelve year olds.

I can’t imagine what the human rights groups are busy writing about that’s keeping them away from murder report numbers as published by a government that fired any judge who disagreed with their actions. Amnesty international says that they’re detaining people for five times the legal maximum before trial and summarily resolving trials of 500 people at a time on the basis of “membership of an illegal group” even in the complete absence of evidence. While they can find 500 people guilty without evidence in a single summary trial - none of the appeals that have been lodged against these convictions have had a day in court. Not one.

In one case, the police arrested a woman, who was a single parent and works as a food vendor, in her home at the beginning of April, without an arrest or search warrant, for allegedly being a gang member. At the court hearing, which dealt with more than 500 people at the same time, a Specialized Court imposed a pre-trial detention order on her for the crime of membership of an illegal group, despite the fact that, according to her family, there was no evidence of this. Years ago, police had arrested the vendor on the same charge and beat her severely in detention. In addition to their being unable to prove the charges, she was awarded financial reparation after she reported the police officers for abuse of authority. Since then, she and her children have been forcibly displaced as a result of constant threats from the police. The vendor and her family had returned to their home a few months before her arrest in April. Her daughter reported that, the next day, local police returned to the house and put a gun to her head, threatening that she would be next. In May, the young woman was arrested by the same police officers who had arrested her mother and threatened her. Amnesty International documented two other cases in which arrests were preceded by situations in which victims had reported police abuse to the authorities in previous years.

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