El Salvador: Former President of Congress Criminally Accused

SAN SALVADOR (HPD) — The Public Ministry on Monday filed a criminal accusation against the deputy of the Central American Parliament and former president of the Salvadoran Congress Norman Quijano, who is accused of having agreed with the gangs in exchange for the support of these criminal groups in the presidential elections. from 2014.

The prosecutor in the case explained to the journalists that the accusation, presented before the First Criminal Chamber of San Salvador, corresponds to Quijano’s negotiations with the leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 gangs to help him to win the elections that year, in which former guerrilla commander Salvador Sánchez Cerén, of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), triumphed.

Quijano is a prominent leader of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) and was elected Parlacen deputy for the 2021-2026 term. He left the country on April 30, 2021, a few hours before the end of the legislative period in the Salvadoran Congress and the constitutional jurisdiction that prevented the authorities from capturing him. His whereabouts are unknown.

The Supreme Court of Justice declared the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 gangs to be terrorist groups. In its ruling it also declared the leaders, members and collaborators of these criminal groups to be terrorists.

Last December, Congress agreed to remove Quijano’s jurisdiction after the Public Ministry requested it for the second time. He is accused of the crimes of illicit groups and electoral fraud after an investigation by the Anti-Gang Unit. The request was accompanied by a series of audios and videos that are already in the hands of the courts of justice.

The Central American deputy’s lawyers allege that the impeachment process was illegal because it was not up to the Salvadoran Congress to withdraw constitutional protection, but to Parlacen, but the judges dismissed that allegation. Prosecutors say that there is expert, documentary and testimonial evidence that proves Quijano’s participation in the crimes he is accused of.

The Prosecutor’s Office filed the criminal accusation against Quijano on May 1, 2021, and a week later the Seventh Peace Court issued an arrest warrant against him and asked Interpol to issue a red notice, but Interpol decided not to do so.

In September 2021, at the request of the defense attorneys, the First Criminal Chamber annulled the case and with it all the arrest warrants, but the Prosecutor’s Office appealed that decision, which was later reversed to continue with the process, ratifying the warrants. catch.

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