El Salvador tells phone companies to block signals in jails

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — El Salvador’s government is demanding that telephone companies completely block cellphone signals inside the country’s prisons, in a bid to stop gang leaders from ordering killings and other crimes from behind bars.

New President Nayib Bukele is moving to crack down on gangs in the crime-plagued Central American country where many are forced to flee toward the United States to escape violence and gang threats.

Bukele’s justice and public security minister said at a news conference Friday that the government has “bluntly asked the telephone companies that there be no signal within 72 hours, neither data nor calls, from penitentiaries.”

El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in the world. Its homicide rate last year was 50.3 killings per 100,000 inhabitants, or 9.2 a day.

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