More than 7,000 Arrested During the State of Exception Have Been Released

By Eddie Galdamez  |  Aug 22nd, 2023

The Minister of Justice and Public Security Gustavo Villatoro confirmed that more than 7,000 individuals captured during the State of Exception have been released. Villatoro made the statement on August 21, in a Dialogo21 TV interview.

To date, there are a little more than 7,000 who have been released from these more than 72,000 arrested. It means that the justice system is working.” Gustavo Villatoro.

The State of Exception security measure began in March 2022; after a spike in violence. Since then, it has been extended over 17 consecutive times. As of today date, the State of Exception has resulted in the arrest of over 71,000 people.

The Salvadoran Government of Nayib Bukele stipulates that the State of Exception is one of the principal reasons the country has such unprecedented homicide reduction. And that the country has also achieved over 425 days with zero homicides during the Bukele administration.

Furthermore, Villatoro emphasized during the interview that the Salvadoran judicial system is independent and is working. Evidence of that is that is the release of over 7,000 arrestees.

On the other hand, those who oppose Bukele and the State of Exception argue that these 7,000 people released indicate that human rights violations are evident during the controversial security measure.

7,000 innocent people arbitrarily detained for more than a year without prior investigation; They acquired serious illnesses and were not cared for; they were beaten and tortured, and their children, their jobs? Is who is responsible for these arrests unjust? Zaira Navas.

Organizations defending human rights, such as Cristosal and Humanitarian Legal Aid (Socorro Jurídico Humanitario), have documented the testimonies of people released who have recounted the torture and ill-treatment to which they were subjected after spending several months in prison, even though their link to criminal structures could not be verified.

Reporters Carlos Martinez and Wendy Monterrosa, who regularly report on the Bukele administration, made Twitter comments about Villatoro’s statement.

7 thousand innocent people captured in a year and a half, without evidence against them, who suffered months of torment in jails, is, according to the minister, clear proof that “THE JUSTICE SYSTEM WORKS.” Carlos Martinez, El Faro.

The Security Minister is acknowledging that they have released 7,000 innocent people in the emergency regime. And the psychological, emotional, and health impact of these people? The effect on their sons and daughters? The economic deterioration? Who repairs all that damage? Wendy Monterrosa, Voz Publica.