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El Salvador tries ex-leader Funes in absentia for gang truce

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El Salvador opened a trial Wednesday towards former President Mauricio Funes alleging that he had negotiated a truce with the nation’s highly effective avenue gangs when he was president, however the trial will proceed with out Funes who lives in Nicaragua

ByMARCOS ALEMÁN Related Press

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — El Salvador opened a trial Wednesday towards former President Mauricio Funes alleging that he had negotiated a truce with the nation’s highly effective avenue gangs when he was president, however the trial will proceed with out Funes who lives in Nicaragua.

Funes has denied negotiating with the gangs or giving their leaders any privileges. “I by no means ordered nor approved any negotiation,” Funes wrote Tuesday on Twitter, including that the truce was between rival gangs, not with the federal government. Mediators within the talks between the MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs weren’t representing the federal government, he mentioned.

El Salvador’s congress reformed the legislation final 12 months to permit individuals to be tried in absentia.

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Prosecutors accuse Funes of illicit affiliation and failure to carry out his duties for the gang truce negotiated in 2012. David Munguía Payés, who served as Funes’ safety minister, is on trial for a similar expenses, in addition to others. If convicted, Funes may face a sentence of as much as 11 years in jail, however since Nicaragua awarded him citizenship, it stays unlikely he’ll face justice in El Salvador.

El Salvador has pursued Funes, who ruled from 2009 to 2014, for different alleged crimes in at the least a half dozen {cases}.

However present President Nayib Bukele has been accused of partaking in the identical sort of negotiations with the gangs.

In December 2021, the U.S. Treasury mentioned that Bukele’s authorities secretly negotiated a truce with leaders of the nation’s highly effective avenue gangs. Imprisoned gang leaders had been allegedly given privileges in change for slowing down killings and for giving political help to Bukele’s get together. Native information website El Faro had beforehand reported negotiations.

Former Lawyer Common Raúl Melara had mentioned on the time that he would examine the allegations, however when Bukele’s get together dominated mid-term elections and took management of Congress, the brand new lawmakers ousted Melara.

The truce apparently broke down when the gangs killed 62 individuals in a single day in March 2022. Bukele responded by suspending some elementary rights and waging an all out warfare towards the gangs that carries on at this time.



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