An IT specialist and founder of Hackerspace San Salvador, Mario Gómez, was briefly detained Wednesday morning. His attorney said there was never an arrest warrant for him. Gomez has been a vocal critic of the upcoming bitcoin law in El Salvador.
The National Civil Police of El Salvador (PNC) said they detained Gómez “while investigating financial fraud relating to an email phishing scam,” El Faro publication described. A press officer at the Attorney General’s Office told the publication:
They tell me it’s a move by the National Civil Police. Our office has no information at this time.
Gómez’s mother, who was with him when the arrest happened, explained that the police stopped their car, told her son to get out and go with them. She also said they seized his cell phone.
The publication conveyed:
Gómez’s mother reported that officers presented no warrant when they stopped him in his car, and told him that if he did not come along, he would be handcuffed. Gómez then told the press that he was unaware of why he had been detained.
Otto Flores, the lawyer representing Gómez, later told the press that “Apparently he [Gómez] was only being investigated, the police say it was not an arrest.” He added that the PNC has released his client and taken him home.
Flores further said that it was “not clear” why Gomez was handcuffed and taken by the police. He noted that he and his mother were even lied to get them out of their vehicle.
The lawyer added: “They [the authorities] do not want to tell us which unit of the Prosecutor’s Office is processing the charges.”
Gomez has recently been an outspoken critic of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele’s plan to make bitcoin a legal tender, pointing out flaws in El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law which will go into effect on Sept. 7.
Renata Avila, co-founder of Progressive International, explained that Gomez only “exposed flaws in [the] Bitcoin Law promoted by the government,” elaborating:
He is not ‘anti-bitcoin’ but someone carefully exposing the weakness of the initiative.
Do you think Mario Gomez’s arrest has anything to do with the upcoming Bitcoin Law? Let us know in the comments section below.
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