Prosecutor refuses to reveal protected witness’ name in case against Martinelli

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  • Mon, 07/30/2018 - 15:08
  • EFE

Prosecutor Harry Díaz refused today to reveal the name of a protected witness in the framework of the case against former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli for alleged illegal wiretapping during his term (2009 -2014).

In the resumption Monday of the intermediate phase of the proceeding after a two-week break, Díaz responded to the defense, which on July 16 requested a series of "corrections" to the indictment, including the disclosure of the name of the protected witness.

Díaz said during his speech he decided to "reserve" the protected witness' identity based on a series of sections of the Criminal Procedure Code, providing "this protection measure" and in no part of it "forces the judge or prosecutor" to discover it.

The protected witness "was receiving threats" against him and his family "for the knowledge of the facts" related to the case of illegal wiretapping affecting more than a hundred people, for which the prosecutor requested "the reservation" of the identity.

In a long intervention, the prosecutor assured that the corrections raised by the defense exceeded what an indictment document must include, but considering the "principle of good faith" acceded to several of them, reason why the document was extended from 30 to 48 pages.

The magistrate said identification numbers of victims and witnesses were corrected or completed in the indictment, formally filed by Díaz in October 2015 and supported by this intermediate phase that began on June 25.

Also "the concepts were extended, but without altering the original indictment" of the criminal definitions charged against Martinelli, which are in total four that add up to 21 years in prison.

The indictment document submitted Monday clearly explains "behaviors related to the crime of the inviolability of secrecy and the right to privacy" and how Security Council officials "directly reported or obeyed Ricardo Martinelli directly", to whom they delivered "information that was not disclosed to another official" of that organization, said Díaz.

"The document submitted Monday is not a new indictment", "it is a disaggregated indictment" for the better understanding of the defense, said Díaz, who also argued he disagreed to a series of requests from the defense because it does not correspond to this procedural phase.

According to the prosecutor, "the majority of the petitions" filed by the defense as "corrections" that had to be made to the indictment "correspond to the oral trial phase," including the description of the "procedures followed by computer experts".

After Díaz's speech, one of the lawyers of the former president, Sidney Sittón, requested a recess until Tuesday to confront what was said by the prosecutor with what was requested by the defense team, to whom the magistrate presiding judge, Jerónimo Mejía, agreed despite the resistance of the complainants.

"The indictment should be as clear as possible" to the defense, "I am interested that any doubt that the defense has, however innocuous it may be" will be clarified in this intermediate phase, said Mejía, who highlighted the "commendable work" of prosecutor Díaz and asked complainants for "patience".



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