May 29, 2018

U.S. aiding El Salvadorian police accused of human rights violations

A police officer patrols an area beset by gang members in San Salvador.

Police in El Salvador that receive equipment and training — though not weapons —  from the U.S. have allegedly been involved in what has been criticized as illegal executions of gang members, CNN reports.

The big picture: The police, known as the Jaguar Police Unit, are targeting MS-13 gang leaders, per CNN. Many of those serving with the Jaguar unit were once a part of the Special Reaction Forces (FES,) which was disbanded because of allegations surrounding its "lethal track record." The alleged illegal executions pose a problem for the U.S. as it is not supposed "to fund units guilty of human rights abuses."

The details: The police argue that they're fighting "terrorists," but the U.N. is set to release a report that will declare "a pattern of behavior by Security Personnel amounting to extrajudicial executions," CNN reports.

  • The U.S. Embassy said in a statement: "The U.S. government takes allegations of extrajudicial killings extremely seriously."
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