El Salvador President Nayib Bukele defied the Supreme Court Wednesday after the nation’s highest judiciary issued an order for his administration to respect COVID-19 related rulings.
In March the El Salvador government responded to the COVID-19 outbreak by ordering all citizens to undergo a mandatory month-long lockdown. Individuals found violating this order have been arrested and detained in containment facilities for 30 days, implicating human rights abuses.
The Supreme Court rejected detainment multiple times since the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak. First on March 26, the court ordered the government to release individuals who had been grocery shopping. Then second on April 8, when the court explicitly provided that the government lacked proper statutory backing to detain citizens.
After both rulings, Bukele took to twitter, urging law enforcement to be strict with the lockdown and reiterating that those found violating the lockdown would be put in a containment facility.
Wednesday’s order stated that the Bukele administration must respect the COVID-19 related rulings. Again, Bukele responded on twitter, declaring that, “five people will not decide the death of hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans.”
As of Friday, El Salvador has 177 COVID-19 cases, which are doubling every 11 days.
For more on COVID-19, see our special coverage.