Martinelli's defense requests new hearing while prosecutors claim he is still at risk of escaping

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  • Tue, 06/19/2018 - 15:57
  • EFE

Alleged victims and plaintiffs in the case against Ricardo Martinelli for the illegal wiretapping, affirmed today that there is still a risk of escaping and therefore the former Panamanian president must remain detained in a jail in Panama, where he was extradited by the United States last week.

"There is a risk of escape," said Balbina Herrera,  the Panamanian politician and one of the alleged victims of the illegal wiretappings, upon her arrival at the headquarters of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), where on Tuesday began a hearing to review the measure precautionary detention applied to Martinelli.

Herrera, member of the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), maintained that the victims who have joined as plaintiffs in the case of the wiretappings "we are not going to flight away, we faced the situation, the only one who left this country was Ricardo Martenilli Berrocal. "

The former president, extradited on June 11 by the United States for this case, also arrived at the judicial headquarters, wearing the shirt of the national soccer team and raising his hands in greeting of victory to the local press and cameras located in the place.

"My profession is to be a persecuted polititian," said the former president to the magistrates, during the presentation of those attending the hearing, as indicated by the judicial procedure.

The hearing on Tuesday, June 19 was requested by the defense of the Panamanian president (2009-2014), which seeks to change the precautionary measure of provisional detention, issued by the plenary of the Court in December 2015 based on the possible risk of escaping so Martinelli can confront the process of his case in freedom.

Martinelli, who was imprisoned for one year in a federal prison in the United States because of the extradition request, is being held in El Renacer, the minimum security prison located outside of the Panamanian capital, which also accomodates some ex-employees of his Government (2009-2014) prosecuted for corruption.

Among the arguments that the defense demands is the release of the former president because of his health situation, since he suffers from a series of chronic conditions, including hypertension, for which he was hospitalized for several days in a public hospital in Panama city.

Martinelli faces a penalty of up to 21 years in prison for the 4 criminal charges , including  the case of illegal wiretapping of more than a hundred opposition members, journalists and businessmen, according to an indictment filed in October 2015 by the prosecutor, magistrate Harry Diaz.

The Panamanian Supreme Court has already set for June 25 the indictment hearing against Martinelli for the case of the illegal interception of communications, after Judge Díaz requested that proceeding on the 11th. 


Source: EFE

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