Former President Martinelli asks to advance bail hearing

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  • Thu, 04/26/2018 - 11:29
Ricardo Martinelli
  • EFE

The defense of former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli asked an appeals court today to advance the hearing scheduled for July for bail in the extradition process he faces in the United States.

"The hearing (as currently scheduled), President Martinelli will have been in federal custody for more than a year before the oral arguments are heard" on bail, says the motion of the former president's lawyers.

The Court of Appeals of the Eleventh Judicial District court, based in Atlanta (Georgia), expects "the oral arguments" of both parties to be heard "tentatively" in the week of July 16.

However, the lawyers of Martinelli, who has been arrested since June 12, 2017, requested today to "expedite" said hearing "preferably for the week of May 14," according to court documents to which EFE had access.

Florida Judge Marcia G. Cooke granted Martinelli bail last February, but this was appealed by the US Attorney's Office, which represents the Government of Panama.

Both Martinelli's defense and the Prosecutor's Office will be able to present their arguments on bail, which is suspended after the appeal.

In the same court, former President Martinelli appealed against the extradition process denied by Judge Cooke, who corroborated last January the decision of Judge Edwin Torres, of August 2017, in favor of repatriating him for four crimes related to illegal wiretapping and embezzlement.

The injunction rejected by Cooke had been directed by Martinelli to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions; the then Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson and, Robert Wilson, the active head of the Miami detention center where the former president is being held.

Panama asked the United States extradition of 66-year-old Martinelli to answer for a case of illegal wiretapping during his government (2009-2014) of which 150 people were victims, including journalists, businessmen and politicians.

Judge Torres certified the extradition of the former president in August 2017, considering that "there is sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for all charges filed" against him.

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