Martinelli case in the hands of the US Department of State

  • EFE

Through a handwritten message, former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli informed that he desists from continuing with the legal process he faces before the US justice system and leaves the decision of his case for the consideration of the Department of State.

The information released through the former president's many official social networks was confirmed by his spokesman, Luis Eduardo Camacho and his defense lawyer, Sydney Sittón.

With this decision, Martinelli waived his right to appeal the American judicial decision in favor of his submission to Panama, and resolves to abide by "the Extradition Treaty of 1905, with its specialty provision".

In other words, the former president detained in a federal jail in Miami could only be prosecuted by Panamanian justice for the case linked to illegal wiretapping affecting more than 150 people.

Regarding what the future holds, lawyer Sittón reported that the defense is already presenting "the withdrawals" of both the habeas corpus against extradition to Panama and the appeal made by the prosecution to a bail of release issued to his favor.

The former communications minister, Luis Eduardo Camacho, clarified that Martinelli has not agreed to be extradited or go voluntarily to Panama, "What he will do when formalizing the withdrawal of his appeals, is to allow the course of the process and leave the decision in the hands of the State Department, not yet taken". The US State Department has a maximum of 60 days to make the decision.

"I am forfeiting to appeal both bail and habeas corpus in the Atlanta circuit and I am accepting what the Extradition Treaty of 1905 says, with its specialty provision. It is up to the Department of State to make the decision," said Martinelli in his handwritten note.

It is not the first time that Martinelli hints at this decision, in March he said that he wanted to return to Panama "motu proprio" and under the principle of "exclusivity", that is, that he only be judged for the wiretapping case, one of about 10 criminal cases opened by the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ).

"Get ready, my friends and detractors, that by 'motu proprio', I want to go (to Panama) under the principle of exclusivity, according to what the extradition treaty says," he said in the letter published on social networks.

In addition to the cause of the illegal wiretapping, Martinelli is charged with at least ten criminal cases, to which the former president has insisted that the cases have no support and are part of an alleged political persecution by the current Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, who was his vice president thanks to an electoral alliance and who denies this accusation.

Balbina Herrera, an iron opponent to the government of the former Panamanian president and one of the alleged victims of illegal wiretapping, said today that the former president "has lost a year of his life (...) no matter what the aspirations of Martinelli are, in the end it has prevailed more the fact that he is a prisoner and that he knows he has had many setbacks with the North American Justice".

"Anyone who tells me that nothing is going to happen (...) it has happened. He who tells me nothing has happened, I think is falsifying the truth, and it is said by someone who was affected by him (Martinelli). He has already lost a year of his life, a man with the economic resources he could have, and the only thing he will not recover in life is time," Herrera told EFE.

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