On February 1, seven youth organizers from the Popular Resistance Movement (MPR-12) were released from jail. The seven young men had been jailed since December 12 of last year, after they were arrested in an early morning police raid in the marginalized San Salvador communities of El Progreso 3 and Santa Cecilia. Another youth leader who was arrested with them remains in jail. Read an interview with one of the released organizers here.
The eight young men, along with two others who went into hiding to avoid going to jail, are facing “illicit association” charges. The youth and the MPR-12 maintain that the accusations of gang membership are completely false and represent targeted repression against these youth for their organizing activities with the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party. Read this article to learn more about the raid and the youth’s political persecution.
Four days before their release CISPES, US-El Salvador Sister Cities, Voices on the Border, Joining Hands El Salvador, and the SHARE Foundation participated in a press conference with families of the detained youth and members of MPR-12 outside the Organized Crime Specialized Courthouse to demand the youth’s release and the immediate closure of the International Law Enforcement Academy, a US-run institution that trained the police who carried out the raid and the specialized prosecutors who charged the youth organizers.
“Our families told us not to worry because we weren’t alone and there was lots of support from our community, from MPR-12, from Mirna Perla [former Supreme Court magistrate], and from international organizations,” said Emerson Marroquín, one of the detained youth, in an interview after his release.
CISPES continues to stand in solidarity with the youth leaders and the MPR-12 as their struggle continues to get the organizer that remains in jail released and the charges against all ten young men dropped. Stay tuned for ways you can take action against this political repression, too. Organizing is not a crime!