- Ricardo Martinelli, Ex Presidente de Panamá - EFE
The Panamanian government affirmed today that the letter of resignation to the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) signed by former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli must be authenticated, through a process that includes the signature of the director of the prison where he has been held since he was extradited by the United States last 11th of June.
Spokespersons and lawyers of the former president reported on Thursday that Martinelli signed the letter of resignation to the deputation of Parlacen, which would result as a consequence in the case that he faces at the Supreme Court for illegal wiretapping go to the ordinary courts, and that it would be delivered this Friday at the headquarters of the regional entity located in the capital of Guatemala.
Official sources explained to EFE on Friday that the defense of the former president presented the letter to the Foreign Ministry on Thursday, but that it did not meet the requirements necessary to be authenticated and thus had validity abroad.
Martinelli's lawyers "were already told about the correct procedure", and "have not yet returned with what is needed," said the source consulted by EFE at 09:20 local time (14.20 GMT) this Friday.
The Ministry of Government published a statement on Friday in its social networks saying that "no documentation" linked to Martinelli "that requires the authenticity established by the procedures" had been submitted to the Directorate General of the Prison System.
"The administrative procedure requires that this kind of documentation issued by a detained person (...) with legal effects, must be certified by the director of the prison center where the detained person is," said the official letter.
It added that the General Directorate of the Prison System "has confirmed to the Department of Authentications and Legalizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the note sent by the prisoner Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal, for use abroad, does not bear the signature of the director of the Prison Center El Renacer and does not bear the signature of the Director General of the Prison System".
He is being held in preventive detention in El Renacer, a minimum-security prison located on the outskirts of the Panamanian capital, a precautionary measure that the plenum of 9 magistrates of the Supreme Court unanimously approved last Tuesday in a hearing requested by the defense to promote Martinelli's house arrest.
Martinelli, who says he is politically persecuted by the current Panamanian government, faces a penalty of up to 21 years in prison for the 4 criminal definitions involving illegal wiretapping, according to a brief filed in October of 2015 by the prosecutor of the case, Harry Díaz.
A source from the Parlacen told EFE that the resignation letter written by former Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli to the Parlacen has not been submitted and said that since it is an international organization; it should be channeled through the foreign ministry of Panama, that will deliver it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala and this in turn to the regional entity.
"For a person close to Martinelli or one of his lawyers to submit this resignation letter personally does not have any validity", it added about the resignation of the former Panamanian president, who is being held in a prison in his country since June 11, when he was extradited by the United States.
Spokesmen and lawyers of the former president indicated on Thursday that Martinelli signed the letter of irrevocable resignation, which would bring as a consequence that the case that he faces before the Supreme Court for illegal wiretapping go to the ordinary courts.
The former 66-year-old president, is temporarily detained in El Renacer, a minimum security prison located outside the Panamanian capital, since he was extradited under the specialty rule provided for in a bilateral treaty of 1905, it is to say, he will only be able to be judged in Panama for the illegal wiretapping case, one of the near 10 criminal cases that the Supreme Court has opened.