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The plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice of Panama denied on Thursday two writs of amparo filed by the defense of former President Ricardo Martinelli, including one intended that the case for illegal wiretapping be transferred to an ordinary court.
That writ of amparo filed against the decision made last June 26 by presiding judge Jerónimo Mejía, to maintain the case in the Supreme Court, has been the center of a scandal in recent days, following allegations of an alleged plot to influence the decision finally taken by the plenary session this Thursday.
The Judicial Body reported that "by majority vote" of the plenary session, of nine magistrates, that amparo was rejected, which was "related to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Justice in this proceeding" against Martinelli.
The rapporteur of this appeal was Judge Oydén Ortega, the Judicial Body said in a statement.
"The second amparo discussed, whose rapporteur is Judge Luis Mario Carrasco, against the decision taken by presiding judge Jerónimo Mejía, on June 27, 2018, on the denial of an incident of objection against the indictment filed "against Martinelli, was also rejected by a majority vote.
The plenary session of the Court on Thursday was chaired by Judge Hernán De León, and magistrates Wilfredo Sáenz was present as a personal substitute for Judge Harry Díaz, who acts as prosecutor in the case against Martinelli.
Efrén Tello also served as the personal substitute for magistrate Luis Ramón Fábrega; Luis Mario Carrasco as a personal substitute for Judge Jerónimo Mejía; Abel Zamorano, Oydén Ortega, Asunción Alonso as personal substitute for Judge José Ayú Prado, and Cecilio Cedalise.
This same Thursday complainants in the case of the wiretaps asked the Supreme Court that magistrates De León, who is the interim president of the highest court, Tello and Alonso declared themselves "banned", after they were involved in an alleged plot to take the case out of the Supreme Court and transfer it to an ordinary court.
De León is the epicenter of the scandal unleashed by the revelations made last Monday by the Attorney General of Panama, Kenia Porcell, stating the interim president of the Supreme Court confessed in an "informal" meeting on July 30 that the case against Martinelli was going to be "halted" in the highest court and would be passed to ordinary courts.
According to Porcell's story, De León told her that Tello and Alonso would agree with the decision to "halt" the case against the former president (2009-2014) in the Supreme Court.
The attorney general also hinted that De León reveals in his "informal" conversation he is allegedly the victim of an apparent blackmail through illegal recordings.
De León responded the same Monday, denying to be a victim of "pressure", assuring that his "judicial decisions are always based on strict adherence to the Constitution and the Law", and saying that Porcell made a "very particular" interpretation of his conversation.
Martinelli, 66, is prosecuted by the Supreme Court because when prosecutor Harry Díaz filed the accusation against him, in October 2015, the former president 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 filed by the defense, which requested that the case be passed to the ordinary courts because Martinelli resigned, that same month, as regional deputy.
The Supreme Court had already rejected writ of amparo filed by the defense to pass the case to ordinary courts, and some jurists had criticized that the Supreme Court had agreed to request a second writ of amparo on an issue that had already been resolved.