Today, June 15th, 2021, the Salvadoran legislature removed Norman Quijano’s legal immunity (Fuero) from prosecution. With 66 votes in favor and one abstention, the Legislative Assembly approved withdrawing Quijano’s legal protection.
Norman Quijano, a high-ranking member of the right-wing political party ARENA, will face charges for electoral fraud and alleged negotiation of votes with gangs.
According to information provided by the pretrial commission, Quijano offered gangs different benefits if he were to win the elections.
Quijano offered a decrease in police operations, more flexible prison regimes for incarcerated gang members, and $100 million under the figure of a rehabilitation plan.
“The Special Commission considered that there are sufficient elements to determine that Norman Quijano, while he was in the 2014 electoral contest, held meetings with gang leaders.”
The Attorney General’s Office (FGR) requested the removal of Quijano’s legal protection. The FGR opened a judicial case against this former legislator for negotiations with gangs.
A few years ago, a video came to light where Quijano appears to offer benefits to members of criminal structures in exchange for votes.
The Attorney General Offices FGR maintains that Quijano made offers to gang members to vote for him in the 2014 presidential election.
The FGR also stipulates that the ARENA political party gave $100,000 to the gang members to help him win the presidential elections.
Norman Quijano has denied the allegations that he gave money to gang members and met with them to negotiate.
Quijano could be arrested; however, no one knows where the ARENA politician is at the moment.
Quijano left El Salvador for Honduras in late April. He made assurances on his Twitter account that he would show up when required by Salvadoran justice because he was innocent.
However, he never returned to El Salvador, and he has not made any public statements since.
“I am out of the country, attending a family engagement. I plan to return to the country in a couple of days. I have learned that the prosecutor has filed charges against me based on false accusations.”
None of ARENA’s legislators were present during the special plenary session.
Deputy Portillo Cuadra of ARENA held a
press conference stating why they wouldn’t participate in the process.
The ARENA deputies believe that the Legislative Assembly does not have the legal standing to remove the constitutional protection of Norman Quijano.
On the other hand, the deputies who voted to remove Quijano’s protection stated that it was an act of justice.