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Supreme Court and Prosecutor’s Office are urged actions for scandal in Martinelli’s case

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  • Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:41
Martinelli
  • EFE

The Supreme Court and the Prosecutor's Office of Panama must take actions to provide a response on the origin and purpose of the alleged blackmail to a magistrate who would seek to affect the proceeding for illegal wiretapping against former President Ricardo Martinelli.

This was affirmed today by lawyers, analysts and deputies, after the Panamanian Attorney General, Kenia Porcell, denounced on Monday that the president of the Supreme Court, Hernán De León, said the case against Martinelli is going to "fall" in that instance and be submitted to the ordinary courts.

In an "informal" meeting, which Porcell explained in a video in his office on July 30, De León said: "I was recorded, there are three copies," concerning an alleged blackmail. Therefore, the prosecutor demanded to file a complaint.

The constitutionalist expert Ernesto Cedeño told Acan-Efe he submitted on Tuesday in the Supreme Court "a petition" to hold "immediately a special meeting of the plenary" of nine judges, "and give a response to the country" on Porcell’s complaint.

The independent Panamanian deputy, Ana Matilde Gómez, said the Court "today should go out and talk" and explain the situation, because it is facing "a risky juncture for democracy and raises questions in the system".

Porcell's complaint states "it is possible that an evident agreement of the case (against Martinelli) has been reached to overthrow him," said Gómez, who is gathering signatures to stand as an independent candidate for the presidency in the 2019 elections.

The Supreme Court must rule soon "because otherwise all the magistrates are negotiating the case of Mr. Martinelli. Where are those who are not negotiating?" said the deputy and also ex-prosecutor.

Several sectors also asked on Tuesday that Porcell file a formal complaint based on the statements issued by De León during the meeting on July 30, which the magistrate has acknowledged was held although he added that the issue discussed there was interpreted in a "very particular" way by Porcell.

The lawyer of plaintiffs in the case of illegal wiretapping, Rosendo Rivera, said Porcell was "brave" to make public the content of the conversation with De León, but he criticized that the prosecutor has not first formally reported the case.

By doing so "it would have been better for the trial (against Martinelli) and justice," Rivera said, adding that the prosecutor is still in time to do so.

The Panamanian law establishes that the judges of the Supreme Court can only be investigated and prosecuted by the Parliament.

The scandal over the revelations of Porcell did not subside in Panama despite the fact that De León has already refused to be a victim of "pressure" and assured his "judicial decisions are always based on strict adherence to the Constitution and the Law."

Martinelli, 66, is prosecuted by the Supreme Court because when prosecutor Harry Díaz, filed the accusation against him, in October 2015, he was a deputy of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen).

That was the argument of presiding judge Jerónimo Mejía, to reject on June 26 an appeal by the defense, which requested that the case be transferred to the ordinary courts because Martinelli resigned, that same month, as regional deputy.

The Supreme Court has already rejected an injunction filed by the defense so that the process can be referred to ordinary courts, but another resolution on the same issue is pending.

Some lawyers have criticized that the Supreme Court has accepted to process a second writ of amparo on a matter already resolved, and that it would be "unprecedented" for it to fail "against its own decision".

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