The Plenary Session of the Panamanian Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) hearing on Monday appealed to review the precautionary measures and legal medical evaluation of former President Ricardo Martinelli. After hearing the allegations of the parties and several hours of recess, the supreme court denied his release on parole.
Regarding the medical check-up requested by the defense, the Court declared itself incompetent to comply with this request, while on the request for release on parole, the majority of the Magistrates of the Plenary decided to deny the petition, considering that the conditions that led to the custodial measure had not yet been resolved. Three of the nine Magistrates did not cast their vote.
After leaving the hearing Ricardo Martinelli accused the President of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela of influencing the decisions of the Supreme Court of Justice, "the only thing he is doing is preventing justice in Panama to satisfy his personal purposes and to destroy this country".
"This is unfortunate; from the moment when the real factors of power determined that in the same institution where investigations are
conducted, trial is held and today you are a prosecutor and tomorrow you are a judge, this is upsetting and we are going to exhaust with the rules of the system all the corresponding elements," said Carlos Carrillo, defense attorney representing Ricardo Martinelli.
Meanwhile, one of the victims of the case, Balbina Herrera, said that what happened "was well supported"; in her opinion nothing new has happened that will change the scenario to release Martinelli.
Already the plenary session of the CSJ, consisting of nine magistrates, has rejected on at least three occasions the defense appeals in favor of Martinelli's release from the minimum-security prison where he has been held since June 11, when he was extradited from United States for illegal wiretapping.
The lawyers of the former president have argued that the health of Martinelli, 66, and suffering from chronic ailments such as hypertension, makes it necessary to be subject to precautionary measures other than detention in a prison.
Martinelli, who was imprisoned in the USA for one year because of the extradition request in the case of wiretapping, claims to be innocent and a victim of political persecution by the current Panamanian president and who was his vice president and chancellor, Juan Carlos Varela, who denies and defends the separation of powers in the country.
On October 7, the indictment trial in that case ended, and now Judge Jerónimo Mejía, analyzes "calmly, prudently, slowly but surely", as he said, the arguments of the Prosecutor's Office and the defense to decide if a trial is necessary or not.
Prosecutor Harry Díaz requests 21 years of jail for Martinelli, to whom he accuses of 4 offenses of illegal wiretapping to dozens of politicians, businesspeople and journalist, among others, in the period between 2012 and 2014.