El Salvador president to defy court on lockdown detentions

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — The president of El Salvador said Thursday he will not obey the country’s Supreme Court, after it ruled authorities cannot detain people who disobey lockdown measures.

The police have been taking violators to mandatory quarantine centers at hotels or other improvised facilities for as long as 30 days, to ensure they are not spreading the new coronavirus.

The court ruled that people must obey orders to remain at home. But it also ruled that such forced transfers violate the Constitution and are not backed up by any law.

President Nayib Bukele said the court “does not have any powers to impose or revoke sanitary measures, nor to decide about epidemic containment.”

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“It is one thing is to interpret the Constitution, and another very different thing to order the murder of people,” Bukele wrote in his Twitter account.

El Salvador has 164 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 6 deaths.

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