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Since March 27, El Salvador has been under an "Exception State" that grants the Bukele administration special powers thanks to the suspension of constitutional guarantees.
On Wednesday, the University Observatory of Human Rights (OUDH) presented a report warning of cases of torture committed in El Salvador during an exceptional regime implemented by President Nayib Bukele to counteract gangs.
"In El Salvador there is torture. The complaints received attest to the existence of it," OUDH Coordinator Danilo Flores said during the presentation of the report titled "100 Days of Exception Regime in El Salvador".
Between March 27 and July 4, OUDH researcher Natalia Ponce managed to identify 63 well-documented cases about alleged victims of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Over that period, El Salvador has been under an "Exception State" that grants the Bukele administration special powers thanks to the suspension of constitutional guarantees.
This extraordinary measure has been prolonged by Congress on four occasions and it is expected that Bukele will request a new extension until the end of September. According to data from Justice and Security Minister Gustavo Villatoro, over 49,000 citizens have been imprisoned during the last four months on suspicion of belonging to criminal gangs.
The OUDH report also records cases of arbitrary arrests, deaths of detainees in custody, and prison overcrowding. One of the most emblematic cases of torture corresponds to a 14-year-old teenager, who was detained and tortured by agents of the National Civil Police (PNC).
"He was arrested after several visits by the Police to his residence. They took him to a police station. Over there they beat and tortured him to make him confess that he belonged to a gang," Flores denounced.
They submerged his head in water and clamped his fingers with pliers. Although the teenager was not a gang member, he was later taken to a gang cell, where the inmates also beat him. For 12 days, "policemen continued to injure and beat him," Flores added, mentioning that the teenager's mother found him vomiting blood when he was released after a hearing.