Judge who had to solve appeal to release Martinelli leaves the case

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  • Wed, 02/06/2019 - 14:20
  • EFE

One of the three judges who have to resolve an appeal seeking parole for former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) for alleged political espionage and embezzlement abandoned the case , judicial sources informed on Wednesday.

The magistrate of the Superior Court of Appeals Gustavo de Gracia was declared "impeded" to solve the appeal, having been a deputy prosecutor at the beginning of the investigation, a situation that could "generate a fear of partiality in the parties", explained the Judicial Organ.

De Gracia, the institution noted, "conducted interviews enunciated and admitted as evidence in the intermediate phase hearing, which should be practiced in the oral trial, and also participated as support in the hearings of December 11 and 21, 2015".

A Panamanian warranty judge on Monday denied bail to release the former president to verify that there is a risk of escape, which means that Martinelli will remain in prison while being prosecuted for allegedly spying on dozens of politicians, businessmen and journalists during his term.

Judge Justo Vargas, however, accepted an appeal lodged by the ex-claimant's defense, which alleges that his health is delicate and that therefore he needs to be released.

The date to resolve the appeal remains for next February 11, despite the impediment of Judge De Gracia, and the Judicial Branch must appoint another judge to replace him, assured judicial sources to Acan-Efe.

It is the fourth time that a judge denies parole to Martinelli, a 66-year-old billionaire businessman who fled Panama in January 2015 claiming to be a victim of "political persecution" by his successor and former electoral ally, Juan Carlos Varela.


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