The plenary session of the Supreme Court of Justice of Panama (CSJ) yesterday denied bail of release requested by the defense of former President Ricardo Martinelli, prosecuted for a case of alleged illegal wiretapping during his term in office (2009-2014).
"By majority decision, the Plenary Session of the CSJ, denied the bail of release to the accused, linked to the case of 'wiretapping'", reported the Judicial Branch on Twitter.
In a statement, the judicial branch said that the plenary session "based its decision on the fact that the procedural risks that allowed the provisional detention at the time still exist."
It includes, "the danger of affectation of evidence, because there is still testimonial evidence to evacuate and the equipment used for illegal wiretapping has not appeared".
"Regarding the flight risk and neglect of the proceeding, the Plenary Session said that the circumstances for which the use of extradition was required, coupled with the great economic capacity of the accused and his dual nationality cannot be dismissed," it added.
Martinelli, 66, is being held in a minimal security prison outside the Panamanian capital since June 11, when he was surrendered to Panama by US authorities, where he was imprisoned for one year in a federal prison over the extradition request for wiretapping.
The defense supported again on the former president's health condition, who suffers a series of chronic ailments, the request that he be released from prison the same day he arrived extradited from the United States and denied by the presiding judge of the case, Jerónimo Mejía.
The president of the Panamanian Supreme Court, Judge Hernán De León, said Monday that "at this moment Mr. Martinelli's health is not a risk, which warrants a change of precautionary measure."
"The procedural risks of neglecting and affecting the proceeding remain, to the point that the most advisable measure, in the opinion of this Court, is to keep the interim measure of provisional detention in force," said De León.
The defense raised a bail of release of between 250,000 and 500.00 dollars for Martinelli, who in a right of speech reiterated that he is innocent of the charges against him for the case of illegal wiretapping to more than a hundred politicians, journalists and businesspeople, among others.
According to the judicial information, the bail of release was denied with the votes of five of the nine magistrates of the plenary session.
The other four dissented the vote, including Judge Cecilio Cedalise, who noted that the request for bail was "inadmissible," the Judicial Branch reported.
The plenary session of the Supreme Court unanimously approved on June 19 to maintain the measure of provisional detention against Martinelli, whose defense had asked to change it alleging the health problems of the former president and who had already spent a year imprisoned in the United States.
The former president's defense says that he was extradited under a specialty provision included in a bilateral treaty between Panama and the United States, and that therefore he can only be tried in the Central American country for the case for which he was surrendered, which is the case of the alleged illegal wiretapping.