The Prosecutor’s Office Charges Norman Quijano with Illegal Negotiations and Fraud. Arrest was requested

Norman Quijano, an impeached deputy of the Central American Parliament and former candidate for the presidency from the ARENA party, was indicted today in the First Criminal Chamber of San Salvador for the crimes of illegal groups and electoral fraud.

The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic went to the higher court to initiate the criminal process after the Legislative Assembly removed the immunity that he enjoyed as a deputy.

The prosecutors of the Group against Impunity have asked the Chamber to subject Quijano to criminal proceedings. «The First Criminal Chamber is requested to summon the defendant to make him aware of the facts attributed to him, to rule on the lawyers who must exercise the technical defense and to designate a date and time for the initial hearing»

The public prosecutor has requested that when the initial hearing is held, the provisional arrest of Norman Quijano be decreed.

Background:

Norman Quijano was mentioned along with other ARENA and FMLN politicians in the case known as «Operation Cuscatlán», in the judgment of that criminal case against 425 gang members of the Mara Salvatrucha, the Specialized Judge of Sentence A of San Salvador, Godofredo Salazar, released three videos in which the former candidate for the presidency from ARENA, Norman Quijano, is observed; the former Minister of the Interior, Arístides Valencia, and the former mayor of the ARENA party, Ernesto Muyshondt, holding a meeting with gang leaders.

When Salazar issued the ruling, he said that the Attorney General’s Office was obliged to investigate the aforementioned politicians, adding that they had sat down to negotiate with the gangs and were «gangsters and mercenaries» and that «it is unheard of how they planned criminal acts»

In the accusation presented by the prosecutor’s office, he is attributed with electoral fraud because he allegedly gave almost $100,000 to gang members in order to obtain electoral benefits during the presidential campaign of 2014, while the illegal groups have to do with the meetings and the pact he made with the gangs.

The public prosecutor indicates that Quijano committed two crimes contemplated in the Penal Code and the videos of the meetings in which Norman Quijano is observed meeting and negotiating with members of the three gangs in the church of a network of shepherds.

Other politicians on trial:

On June 24, 2021, the Prosecutor’s Office presented in the Second Investigating Court of San Salvador the final investigation (indictment) against the former mayor of San Salvador, Ernesto Muyshondt, the former ministers of the Interior and Justice, Arístides Valencia and Benito Lara; and the intermediaries, Paolo Lüers, Raúl Mijango and Wilson Alvarado, also accused of illegal groups and electoral fraud.

Like Norman Quijano, the public ministry accuses the former capital mayor, imprisoned in Mariona, and the two former ministers of having negotiated votes with gang leaders for the presidential elections of 2014 and the legislative and municipal elections of 2015.

Lara and Valencia posted a $10,000 bond each; Paolo Lüers and Wilson Alvarado $5,000 each.

The Prosecutor’s Office has presented charges against Quijano and the other politicians.

Wiretapping, videos in which politicians appear meeting with the leaders of the gangs, and the declaration of the criteria «Noé» and «Salomón».

Witnesses have said that the FMLN paid $433,000 to vote for Salvador Sánchez Cerén in 2014 and that ARENA gave $100,000. In the case of Muyshondt, it would have given $69,000 to each of the gangs in exchange for obtaining support in the presidential elections of 2014.