IT asks the Supreme to leave "cronyism and partiality" and to rule against Martinelli

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  • Sat, 07/07/2018 - 19:52
Ricardo Martinelli
  • EFE

The organization Transparency International (TI) asked the plenary of the Panamanian Supreme to leave aside "cronyism" and "partiality" and reject an appeal of former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) that seeks to transfer the case of illegal wiretapping to ordinary courts.

The Foundation for the Development of Citizen Freedom, the association that represents IT in Panama, said that the plenary session of the highest court "has in its hands to guarantee the social peace of the country with the vital decision it must take to guarantee the competence to judge the former president".

"We call on the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice to act with impartiality, independence and probity, to demonstrate to the country that their actions are not marked by conflicts of interest and that they are not puppets of those who demonstrated withe their personal actions they only seek to avoid the law," he said.

The plenary session of the highest court will hold an special meeting on July 11 to decide whether to admit an "action for the protection of constitutional guarantees" against the decision of Supreme Judge Jerónimo Mejía to maintain jurisdiction to prosecute Martinelli and to reject his resignation from Parliament Central American (Parlacen).

Martinelli tries since he was extradited from the United States, on June 11, to renounce his seat in the Parlacen, since this condition gives the Supreme Court the power to prosecute him for alleged political espionage against more than a hundred people in the two last years of his mandate.

The defense of the former president has filed several appeals in the context of this proceeding, something that the complainants interpret as a tactic to delay his trial.

The Panamanian foundation warned in a statement that if the case of wiretapping is transferred to the ordinary justice system "it will enter the limbo of the interim of the circuit judges, of the hearings suspended multiple times, of the postponed justice and de facto impunity for judicial dwellings".

"Ruling in favor of the arguments of the defense of the former president would be against the law and common sense but, above all, would go against justice and destroy the little confidence that already has the citizenship in terms of the institutionality of the Supreme Court of Justice," he said.

Martinelli is being held in the El Renacer prison, located in the outskirts of the Panamanian capital, since he arrived from the United States, where he was imprisoned a year after the Panamanian government requested his extradition in the case of wiretapping.

The former president, who has a dozen pending cases with the Panamanian justice, can only be prosecuted for illegal wiretapping affecting more than 150 people during his term, since he was transferred under the specialty provision enshrined in the extradition treaty signed by Panama and the United States in 1905.


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