A mega-prison built specifically for El Salvador’s worst gang members has brought in another batch of suspects, with officials vowing they will never return to the streets.
Another 2,000 accused gangsters were hauled into the new Centre for the Confinement of Terrorism on Thursday, joining the 2,000 inmates who first entered the facility last month.
The new influx of inmates brings the population to 10 per cent and comes a little more than a year after President Nayib Bukele launched a crackdown on violent street gangs.
President Bukele announced the mass transfer on Twitter accompanied by a chilling video revealing conditions inside the facility.
Footage shows heavily tattooed inmates forced run barefoot and handcuffed into their jail cells, dressed only in a pair of prison-supplied white shorts.
Other vision shows hordes of prisoners huddled against each other with their knees folded and their heads bowed as heavily armed guards stand over them.
“This day, in a new operation, we transferred the second group of 2,000 gang members to the Centre for the Confinement of Terrorism (CECOT),” President Bukele boasted on social media.
“With this, there are already 4,000 gang members who inhabit the most criticized prison in the world.”
Minister for justice and peace, Gustavo Villatoro, said the suspected gang members would never return to the streets despite many still awaiting formal charges or a trial.
“They are never going to return to the communities, the neighborhoods, the barrios, the cities of our beloved El Salvador,” Mr Villatoro said.
The facility, which opened its doors in February, sprawls over 72 kilometres and was built to accommodate more than 40,000 prisoners.
The campus consists of eight buildings made of reinforced concrete and each of its 32 cells are designed to house no more than 100 inmates.
Each cell contains 80 bunks with no mattresses and only two sinks and two toilets, with pictures showing some inmates forced to sit on the floor.
President Bukele’s extreme anti-gang measures have received widespread criticism from Human Rights groups.
The crackdown has resulted in reduced killings with El Salvador recording 200 days without a homicide, but rights advocates estimate many civilians have been caught up in police raids.
The local rights group Cristosal have condemned the mass arrests and the new prison, and estimated 3,344 cases of human rights abuses since the blitz began 13 months ago.