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Supreme Court in El Salvador Takes a Stand; FMLN smear campaign

Members of the Salvadoran Supreme Court came out against ARENA's draconian Mano Dura anti-gang law last week, calling it unconstitutional and unenforceable. The judicial branch of the Salvadoran government had already set up a confrontation with President Francisco Flores's government by prosecuting less than 1% of the suspected gang members arrested as part of Mano Dura . Judges have condemned the political nature of the law, and raised questions about the effectiveness of the government's overall crime fighting strategy. Still, more than 3,200 young Salvadorans have already been arrested since Mano Dura was proposed by Flores. Intent on keeping the "criminals" in jail, ARENA has introduced a law that would give police the right to book gang members and send them directly to prison without having to go through the courts. The FMLN has long been fighting against these new laws, and joined community and church groups in backing the Supreme Court.
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