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Best of 2018: The year that Ricardo Martinelli returned to Panama

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  • Thu, 12/27/2018 - 10:29
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On June 11, 2018, former President Ricardo Martinelli was extradited to Panama from the United States. During that day a group of supporters held a demonstration outside the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) to denounce the violations of former president’s rights during his extradition to  Panama.

"The extradition transfer procedure of a former president must have been treated with prudence, with respect and consideration," said Alma Cortes, part of Martinelli's legal team.

The Judge of Guarantees, Jeronimo Mejia, maintained the preventive detention measurements against the former president and ordered his detention in the prison El Renacer. Martinelli suffered the first of several high blood pressure crisis that occurred since his arrival in Panama. On June 21, Martinelli signed the letter of resignation of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen), a fact that would later lead the decision about the lack of jurisdiction of the Court in this case. The investiture as deputy to Parlacen remitted its process to the Supreme Court.

"The Supreme Court until now has not ruled on the merits of the matter, they have been delaying it and have said that at the time when they assume the trial stage, they will be heard, and under the protections that have been filed have not come to be entirely known, " said Sidney Sitton, Martinelli's defense attorney, on September 26.

On september 28, after several hearings of the intermediate stages, the Judge of Guarantees, Jeronimo Mejia, announced the evaluation of the evidence presented by the parties to determine which would be admitted and which would not. Eight weeks later, on November 26, Mejia announced the admission of evidence and called for trial. The scheduled date was December 11. On December 7, 2018, days before the beginning of the trial, after the third appeal submitted by the defense of Martinelli, the Plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice declined its jurisdiction and the case is transferred to an ordinary court. The CSJ also decided that it will be recognized what has been done by the Judge of Guarantees, Jeronimo Mejia.

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