Former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, imprisoned in the framework of a trial for illegal wiretapping, sued the vice president and chancellor of Panama, Isabel De Saint Malo, for a $20-million compensation for having unduly processed his extradition from the United States.
Alma Cortés, lawyer of the defense team of the former president (2009-2014), told Efe today that the lawsuit was filed before Parliament, the body that by law can prosecute the head of the Executive, for crimes "against the public administration, violation of the American Convention on Human Rights and violation of the internal personality of the State".
The lawsuit is based on the fact that "in the opinion of Ricardo Martinelli's defense" the vice president and foreign minister "has failed to fulfill her duties as a public servant" by not having observed her obligation to "safeguard and protect" Panamanian nationals abroad, concerning the arrest and imprisonment of the former president in the United States.
Martinelli, 66, was surrendered to the Panamanian authorities on June 11 by the United States, where he was imprisoned for one year in a federal jail in Miami because of the extradition request for the allegedly illegal wiretapping affecting more than a hundred people during his term.
De Saint Malo allegedly engaged in discrimination because she had never sent an official delegation to the United States to verify the "conditions of Martinelli's detention, or if his rights were being guaranteed", among others.
"Mr. Martinelli suffered (...) in that American maximum-security jail, "his chronic diseases were not treated by doctors," which consequently "worsened", said the defense attorney and close collaborator of the former president of Panama.
The transfer of Martinelli to Panama was plagued by irregularities, said Cortés, including that his coordination "allowed us to invade the national territory delegating the entire exercise to the US authorities."
Once in national territory, Martinelli "should immediately have been put at the disposition" of the magistrate judge for the case of wiretapping, Jerónimo Mejía, "and not been subject to torture when apprehended by Panamanian security forces."
"His medical specialists were also omitted" when he arrived in the country, when he was received by "a simple general practitioner", and "he was not allowed to be assisted by his lawyers from the first moment," Cortés said.
"There was quantification of the damages caused by this unduly, fraudulent procedure (of extradition), to damage the reputation of Ricardo Martinelli (...) a $20 million compensation is being requested," Cortés told Efe.
That amount is being specifically requested from Vice President De Saint Malo, added the defense lawyer of the former Panamanian president.
Cortés announced next week the defense of the former head of the Panamanian State will also file lawsuits against the magistrate judge in the case of the wiretaps "for abuse of authority and overstepping the limits of his authority".
Other lawsuits will be filed against plaintiffs in the proceeding "who have made public accusations disqualifying Mr. Ricardo Martinelli by claiming he is a criminal", including politician Mitchell Doens.
Doens is one of the six complainants attached to the wiretapping trial, which is in the so-called intermediate or indictment phase, after which Judge Mejía must call an oral trial.
In this phase the plaintiffs Balbina Herrera and Doens, politicians of the historic Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD); Rubén Polanco and Rosendo Rivera, asked Martinelli for a compensation of $30 million, $20 million, $5 million, and $955,000, respectively.