Salvador: arrest warrant issued against a former president

Refugee in Nicaragua, Mauricio Funes is accused of having negotiated a truce in 2012 with the criminal gangs which sow terror in El Salvador.

Mauricio Funes is in exile in Nicaragua, where the government granted him asylum, then Nicaraguan citizenship. (Photo Jairo CAJINA / AFP)

AFP

An arrest warrant was issued on Wednesday against former Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes (2009-2014), who is accused of having negotiated a truce in March 2012 with the maras, the criminal gangs which sow terror in the country. The man took refuge in Nicaragua.

A total of six arrest warrants have been issued to date against the former president, who fled in 2016 after being accused of corruption. Mauricio Funes has since been in exile in Nicaragua, where the government granted him asylum, then Nicaraguan citizenship.

The arrest warrant, which will be transmitted to Interpol, was issued on Wednesday for “offenses of illegal associations and violation of its duties in the context of the so-called truce with the criminal gangs”, the Attorney General said on his Twitter account .

The former defense minister, General David Munguia, was arrested in July, also for his involvement in the negotiation of the truce. He is currently under house arrest.

“Terrorist criminals”

For the attorney general, the truce, which had allowed a dramatic decrease in murders in the country, was “illegal” because it was concluded with “terrorist criminals”. An investigation targeting the government of current President Nayib Bukele, also relating to suspicions of negotiations with the maras, was recently opened by the Salvadoran justice.

It follows the publication of an article in El Faro newspaper assuring that the government has entered into negotiations with the dreaded Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), offering relaxation of the conditions of detention of its imprisoned members in exchange for a reduction of its murderous violence.

The maras, which engage in pawnbroking, racketeering and drug trafficking, have around 70,000 members in El Salvador, of whom more than 17,000 are behind bars.

El Salvador (6.6 million inhabitants) is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world outside of zones of armed conflict. The homicide rate, mostly attributed to criminal gangs, last year stood at 35.6 per 100,000 inhabitants.

(ATS / NXP)

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