jueves, 16 de mayo de 2013

Salvadorean President to question state prosecutor over declining arrests

El Salvador's director of public prosecutions (Fiscal-generalrecently doubted official assertions that the country's criminal gangs were gradually disarming and their activities declining, so President Mauricio Funes said he would ask him to explain why he was not issuing more arrest warrants to ease police work against gangs. Funes was to meet on 16 May with the state's chief prosecutor Luis Martínez who recently qualified the much publicised cease-fire between Mara gangs as a farse, La Prensa Gráfica reported. The daily observed that the meeting followed a recent admission by the Minister of Justice David Munguía Payés that arrests of gang members had declined this year compared to 2012. Payés had said that while police caught criminals in flagrante in the first 72 hours after a crime, the state prosecution service must order other detentions or "we cannot capture" suspects, La Prensa Gráfica reported. President Funes said "one mustn't simply pay attention to the Prosecutor for saying that he thinks the ceasefire is hypocritical. One must ask him why administrative orders are not issued to investigate and capture." He said "we have asked the Prosecutor to give orders to capture gang members who steal cars and do not receive the administrative orders from the Public Ministry," which prosecutes crimes; "we want to discuss the reasons why the orders are not given," Funes said, adding this impeded police work. The daily cited police figures for arrests of gang members this year: 2,285 members of street gangs were caught in the first four months of this year, compared to 3,719 in the same period in 2012. It reported on 15 May on another problem commented on by President Funes - suspected corruption or criminal complicity among policemen in the Santa Ana district near Guatemala. On 14 May the daily reported on the transfer of 250 policemen from that district, in a move Mr Funes later explained was preventive and due to "suspicions" they might have become or could be "contaminated" by local criminal activities. But he said policemen could not be dismissed without prior criminal investigations and a conviction. Police identified a drug-trafficking gang in the Santa Ana area named as the Cartel de Texis, with suspected members that included businessmen and "even politicians," La Prensa Gráfica reported on 15 May.

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