Former President of El Salvador to stand trial in August

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By Lourdes Hurtado M.

Former President Sánchez Cerén and six other former officials will face trial for receiving surbration. The Tribunal also requested that no new files be assigned to it.

The Sixth Sentencing Court of San Salvador scheduled for August 20 the beginning of the trial against the former President of the Republic, Salvador Sánchez Cerén , the former Minister of Public Works, Gerson Martínez , former Minister of the Environment, Lina Pohl , former Minister of Finance Juan Ramón Carlos Cáceres , former president of the Autonomous Port Executive Commission (CEPA), or Jsé Guillermo Belarmino López, former Minister of Labor, Calixto Mejía Hernández; and former private secretary of Sánchez CerJosé Manuel Melgar.

The former former officials are charged by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Republic (FGR) for the crimes of illicit enrichment and money-laundering and money-laundering. According to the prosecutorial prosecution, they would have received expends during the first FMLN government, in the administration of former President Mauricio Funes.

The judges recently notified that the public hearing will take place between 20 and 30 August 2024.

Of the seven accused, only two are present and with measures alternate to detention. The first is Carlos Cáceres, who tried to submit to the abbreviated procedure when the case was in the Third Investigative Court, but according to judicial sources in the end they did not grant him the benefit and would face the public hearing. The second is Calixto Mejía, who also tried to submit to the abbreviation but no agreement was reached with the Prosecutor’s Office.

What will the trial be like for the absentees?

With regard to the absent accused, who have been declared rebels, the court has summoned them on 3 April 2024 to notify them about the proceedings.

According to the tax representation, these former officials would have benefited illegally from state money in the amount of $2,673,000 while serving as head of different government ministries.

The prosecution’s relationship with Funes is that the money these people allegedly received is part of the $351 million for which he is accused. He argues that the hangers were granted on his instructions and were handed over through envelopes with cash on a monthly basis in the Private Secretariat of the Presidency.

The amounts allegedly benefited by the former officials are as detailed as follows:

Court asks not to be assigned new files

Act No. 3 of the Full Court of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) reports that the Sixth Sentence Court requested not to receive new files between January 11 and October 31, 2024, because they state that between these months they have three complex proceedings.

Among these is the process against the former FMLN officials to be carried out in August. In addition, the other two cases will be carried out between May and June. The Court approved with 12 votes that this court seat not receive new files until after 31 October.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in La Prensa Grafica