Court exonerates ex-prison directors in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A three-judge panel in El Salvador has exonerated two former national prison directors of charges they acted arbitrarily and defrauded the government as part of a controversial gang truce in 2012 and 2013.

The judges dismissed the charges "for insufficient evidence" on Tuesday. Former prison system directors Nelson Rauda and Rodil Hernández were freed.

Defense lawyer Manuel Chacón said prosecutors were never able to prove they used funds maliciously or took advantage of them. Prosecutor Arturo Cruz says his office will review the decision before deciding whether to challenge it.

Rauda and Hernández were accused of using funds from prison stores to support the truce between rival gangs. Gang leaders were transferred to medium security prisons and in exchange murders dropped considerably in the streets during the truce.