Judge denied provisional release of former President Martinelli

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  • Mon, 02/04/2019 - 11:56
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A Panamanian judge denied today the provisional release of former President Martinelli, Martinelli's defense will appeal the judge's decision on February 11. Martinelli denounced during the hearing that President Juan Carlos Varela is behind this decision.

The hearing in which a Panamanian judge decided a decision on provisional release for a case of alleged political espionage to former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), in prison since last June, began Monday between expectations by his defense.

He denounced on Monday that the justice of Panama has "violated" his rights, including the right to face the trial in freedom, and treats him as a "sub human being".

"I, before the Panamanian judicial system, consider myself a sub human being, an 'untermensch', because the law seems to apply to everyone else, except Ricardo Martinelli," said the ex-governor, referring to the term used by the Nazis to define those who considered "inferior people".

"Today it is not basically decided his  guilt or innocence, today it is decided if a person has the right to be outside while it is decided whether he is guilty or innocent," said Alfredo Vallarino, one of the lawyers of the ex-ruler.

"I need bail because it is a right that I have as a Panamanian, I am not an extraterrestrial, I am not a person who is going to escape (...) It is not fair that here they give bail to everyone except Ricardo Martinelli ", he claimed.

The ex president, a 66-year-old billionaire businessman with various health problems, is being held in El Renacer, a minimum security prison outside the Panamanian capital, since June 11.

"All the exams that (doctors) do to me, they come out that I have an arrhythmia," said the former president, for whom the Prosecutor's Office is asking for 21 years in prison.

"What is happening here is that they want to disqualify me and get me out of the political arena (...) They want me completely imprisoned or excluded from everything," said the former president, who will be presented as deputy and mayor of the capital in the upcoming elections may.

At the hearing on Monday the judge of Guarantees, Justo Vargas, heard Martinelli and his supporters, who reiterated the issue of health as one of the main causes for his release from prison.

The judge also heard the prosecution and the complainants, who insisted that there is a danger of escape and that the physical ills of the former president can be controlled with medication, so they asked him to remain in detention.

The appearance of this Monday is the first of Martinelli before a judge of the Panamanian accusatory criminal system, after last December the Supreme Court declared itself incompetent to judge him.

The highest court decided, however, to maintain the call to trial handed down during the intermediate phase, which will finally begin on March 12.

The defense lawyer, Vallarino in his initial argument offered Martinelli's passports, pay half a million dollars of bail and other guarantees to be granted bail.

The lawyer acknowledged having "expectations" about what the judge decides and recalled that others involved in the plot are currently at liberty after they were granted millions in release bonuses.

It is not the first time that the ex-ruler's defense has asked for his provisional release, which has been denied to him at least three times in the face of the danger of flight.

"Former President Martinelli today would be almost fulfilling the minimum penalty he would have if he were to be convicted and that is being done with a person to whom the State, to this day, recognizes the state of innocence," he added. Vallarino

The appearance of Martinelli this Monday is the first before a judge of the Panamanian accusatory criminal system, after last December the Supreme Court declared itself incompetent to judge him for allegedly spying on dozens of politicians, businessmen and journalists during his term.

The highest court decided, however, to maintain the call to trial dictated by one of its colleagues during the intermediate phase, which will finally begin on March 12.

After his departure from the audience, former President Ricardo Martinelli claimed that "Varela is the one who rules here in this Court, Varela is the one who decides, Varela is the one who condemned me because Varela is afraid of me. He has invented a case that has no foundation or reason to be. I accuse Juan Carlos Varela to be behind all this because he warned me, he sent someone to tell me this, I have witnesses and I am going to report it to the Legislative Assembly. "

Alfredo Vallarino, lawyer of Martinelli considers the decision of the Judge to maintain the custodial measure on his defendant as valued aspects that correspond to the trial stage, "he has made an inference that Mr. Martinelli was president of the Security Council and that is a fact that everyone knows that he was president of the Republic. A President of the Republic, no matter how much the Commander of the National Police (PN), if a PN car is stolen he can not be responsible for everything that happens, nor in the Security Council, nor in No Ministry. What we do agree with the Judge of Guarantees is that these are issues to be resolved in the oral trial hearing and it seemed very advanced to establish a criteria that obviously we do not share. We have the appeal on the 11th and that day we will express our disagreement, not only with the merits but also with the form, because a Guarantee Judge can not consider anything more than what the parties have given him at the hearing. "

Balbina Herrera, victim of the alleged wiretapping, expressed her agreement with the decision of the Guarantees Judge, Justo Vargas, "there was not a different condition that would allow us to say that the precautionary measure had to be changed definitively. As was said at the hearing, the only new thing that was said is that he is a candidate for mayor and deputy but the rest was nothing, his health, the issue of age. We believe that the appeal will keep the decision because we believe that it is really acting in law. "

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