El Faro journalist: Bukele negotiated with gangs before becoming president 2:39
(CNN Spanish) -- A sentencing court in San Salvador sentenced former President Mauricio Funes (14-2009) to 2014 years in prison on Monday for the crimes of illicit groups (eight years) and breach of duty (six years), the Attorney General's Office of El Salvador reported.
The ruling also included former Minister of Justice and Security David Munguía Payés, who was in preventive detention, and who must serve an 18-year prison sentence for the crimes of illegal groups (eight years), breach of duties (six years), and arbitrary acts (four years), according to the Prosecutor's Office.
- El Salvador Court Orders Criminal Trial of Former President Mauricio Funes for Alleged Gang Truce
Both Funes and Munguia Payes were accused of promoting and facilitating the gang truce that in 2012, according to investigations, reduced the number of homicides in exchange for gang benefits. According to the indictment, that strengthened the gangs.
Former President Funes has not spoken after the sentence was announced. He was not present at the trial, as he has lived in Nicaragua since September 2016, when the government of President Daniel Ortega granted him political asylum. He has been a Nicaraguan citizen since July 2019. Funes also did not name a lawyer. Through his Twitter account he has rejected the accusations.
Former El Salvador President Mauricio Funes (Credit: Inti Ocon/AFP/Getty Images)
The trial against the former president could be carried out, despite his absence, after the reform approved by the Legislative Assembly in September 2022 that empowers the courts of justice to continue with criminal proceedings in order to avoid impunity.
In Funes' opinion, the process should not have taken place because the reform approved by the deputies cannot be retroactive. The former president also believes that the accusations should not be attributed to them.
"According to the Penitentiary Law, the officials who authorize transfers of inmates, income of objects that could be considered illicit in addition to income of people without registration are the director of Prisons, the judge of Penitentiary Surveillance and the Criminological Councils," Funes wrote on the social network Twitter on May 14.
The former justice minister, for his part, said in statements to the press that he was a convicted politician. He added that there were irregularities, considering that the political accusations became judicial penalties.
Both Funes and Munguia Payes say that the truce was between the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 gangs, and that as a government they only provided facilities for dialogue and that the agreements were carried out.
Funes has five other criminal proceedings open in El Salvador for alleged corruption during his government. In all of them he has pleaded not guilty.