Tuesday, June 07, 2016

El Salvador crime and corruption stories

A collection of recent crime and corruption stories form El Salvador:

El Salvador arrested the former head of the national prisons system on Monday on suspicion of corruption during the implementation of an infamous gang truce, the country's police said. 
Nelson Rauda, who had been on the run since May, was wanted on graft and criminal enterprise charges allegedly committed during his time in charge of the jails between 2012 and 2013.
 El Salvador wants to investigate ambassador for arms sales
El Salvador prosecutors on Thursday asked Congress to allow the government to investigate the country's ambassador to Germany for illegal arms sales during his time in the Defense Ministry. 
Congress must approve criminal proceedings against any public official. The government said Ambassador Jose Atilio Benitez, 57, a retired general, committed fraud with more than 30 weapons that belonged to the armed forces, selling everything from military rifles to handguns on the black market. 
Prosecutors want to bring charges "for corruption, specifically for the crimes of illegal commerce and storing of weapons, for arbitrary acts, and for the deception committed by this person," Douglas Melendez, the attorney general, told reporters.
El Salvador Forces Kill 346 Gang Members This Year.
El Salvador's police reportedly killed 346 gang members in violent confrontations so far this year, once again raising concerns that the country's bellicose security strategy is leading to widespread human rights abuses. 
Howard Cotto, director of El Salvador's National Civil Police (Policía Nacional Civil - PNC), said police supported by soldiers killed the 346 suspected gang members in an equal number of confrontations since the beginning of 2016, reported El Mundo. That averages out to 2.2 confrontations -- and slain gang members -- per day.
 El Salvador gang truce mediator released from detention
El Salvador released on Monday Raul Mijango, the mediator of a controversial gang truce who was arrested in early May, but the legal proceedings against him will continue, authorities said. 
A judge in San Salvador ruled that Mijango, who is also a former congressman and a former guerrilla commander, must sign in at the court every 15 days and cannot have any contact with gang members. 
Mijango was accused of bringing banned objects into prisons and of being an associate of gang members.
El Salvador’s new attorney general is the point man in the war against gangs
The government of President Salvador Sánchez Cerén, a former leftist guerrilla commander in the civil war, has doubled down on an aggressive strategy against the dominant street gangs. It will fall to Meléndez, who was 49 when he was sworn in in January, to decide whether to prosecute police and soldiers if they commit human rights abuses, as well as to pursue cases against public officials accused of corruption. Since starting the job, Meléndez has announced charges against off-duty police officers allegedly involved in extrajudicial killings, but he has also gone after civilians who he says broke the law in negotiating a 2012 gang truce, a move that critics have described as a political witch hunt.


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