Supreme Court in recess to rule arrest warrant against Martinelli

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  • Mon, 03/12/2018 - 18:37
  • PanamaCritica

Today, the Panamanian Supreme Court announced that it was granted a recess to decide a petition to lift the arrest warrant for extradition of former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009- 2014), for the alleged irregular granting of pardons

In a hearing held on Monday, the Panamanian Supreme Court, as a Collegiate Court, welcomed an open recess to deliberate on this petition filed by Sidney Sittón, defense counsel representing Martinelli, who is arrested in the US, said the Judicial Branch in a statement.

Martinelli is investigated by the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) for the alleged crime of abuse of powers by the granting of pardons during his administration in 2009-2014.

The Collegiate Court was made up of judges Hernán De León Batista (acting president), Ángela Russo de Cedeño, Cecilio Cedalise, Jerónimo Mejía, Oydén Ortega, Harry Díaz, Secundino Mendieta (as substitute of judge Luis Ramón Fábrega), Asunción Alonso Mojíca ( substitute of judge Jose Ayú Prado) and Wilfredo Sáenz (substitute of judge Abel Augusto Zamorano).

Judge De León clarified to defense attorney Sidney Sittón that the hearing is exclusively to deal with the request to lift the arrest warrant for extradition purposes, and would not enter into a debate regarding a request for clarification made by the Court's ruling Collegiate, uttered on January 29.

Sittón based his petition to lift the arrest warrant for extradition on the fact that the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court, in a hearing on January 29, to state that the criminal action falls under the statute of limitations for the effects of the penalty of prison.

"However, he said that his clarification was made concerning the position or decision of the Plenary session, since in the operative part of that hearing, although this is indicated in the ground for a decision, it was not clarified in the operative part that there was a partial statute of limitations," said the statement of the Judicial Branch.

Investigative Magistrate Zamorano opposed this request because the arrest for extradition purposes was ordered by the Plenary of the Supreme Court as a result of an existing rebellion.

Zamorano said that it should be understood that it responds to the need to bring Martinelli to the court, deputy of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen), "who has resisted it."

The recess was decreed during this hearing that took place in the Hearing Chamber of the Second High Court of Justice, according to the information.

On January 31, the plenary session of the Supreme Court confirmed the decision taken at first instance to reject the closure of the case against Martinelli for the alleged irregular granting of pardons.

Martinelli is claimed by the Court for crimes related to a network of illegal wiretapping that operated in his administration, one of several criminal cases opened against him by that body, the only court that can prosecute him since he is a deputy of Parlacen.

His defense is fighting in the United States against extradition, which has already received the approval of two American judges and must be decided by the State Department.

Martinelli claims he is a "political persecuted" by his successor and former electoral ally, Juan Carlos Varela of whom he was the vice president and denies that accusation.

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