How an innocent man wound up dead in El Salvador’s justice system

By Sarah Esther Maslin—Washington Post—March 16, 2017—

On a dusky evening last spring, Jorge Alberto Martínez Chávez was tossed into the hell that is El Salvador’s prison system: a holding cell barely bigger than the bed of a pickup, where more than 50 prisoners were crammed together, some on the sweat-soaked floor and others spilling out of thin hammocks crisscrossed from ground to ceiling.

The air was hot and humid, and prisoners’ half-naked bodies reeked of urine and ulcers from a recent outbreak of bacteria, according to a guard. A few weeks later, Martínez collapsed, foaming at the mouth. He was the fifth inmate from that cell to die in four months.

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