At least 160 people, mostly young people, have died in El Salvador in the custody of State Security agents during the controversial emergency regime measure, implemented by the Government of President Nayib Bukele to ‘share’ the gangs.

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This is how it registers the humanitarian organization Cristosal in a report presented this Monday at a hotel in San Salvador.

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The lawyer Zaira Navas, legal head of the State of Law and Security of Cristosal, explained during the presentation that It is the first time, through an investigation, that «deaths that occurred inside prisons, that is, in State custody, have been verified and documented.».

He explained that from March 27, 2022 to March 27, 2023, Cristosal has documented 139 people who have died in state custody.

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I clarify that this does not mean that only they have died, because there are testimonies and evidence (that indicate) that many (deceased) have been buried in common graves.

«I clarify that this does not mean that only they have died, because there are testimonies and evidence (that indicate) that many (deceased) have been buried in common graves,» he said.

Of the 139 deaths, according to the report, four are women and 46.3% of the deceased are between the ages of 18 and 38.

Navas also said that, until April, the number of cases of deceased people increased, since Cristosal documented 153 cases and that until last Friday, May 26, «160 people had been verified dead in state custody.»

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The document points out that patterns of deaths from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment were identified.

Corpses with lacerations, bruises evidencing blows, injuries with sharp or blunt objects, strangulation, hanging and other signs of torture are identified, he points out.

indicates that some reports from the Institute of Legal Medicine (IML) list as the cause of death mechanical or immersion suffocation and in some cases the connection between the recorded cause of death and the condition of the corpse «are not consistent,» he adds.

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The report explains that to obtain the information, Cristosal carried out field investigations, including in mass graves, collecting extensive photographic documentation of the bodies and obituaries from the IML, as well as interviews with relatives, neighbors, acquaintances of the deceased persons and persons who were detained.

The Legislative Assembly, with a broad pro-government majority, succeeded on May 16 for the fourteenth extension of a current emergency regime since the end of March 2022, after an escalation in homicides that has left more than 69,000 detainees.

Humanitarian organizations registered until mid-March at least 5,082 «direct victims» of human rights violations, mainly due to arbitrary detentions, in the context of the emergency regime.