Witness in case of wiretapping on Martinelli's ex-officials retracts testimony

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  • Wed, 09/05/2018 - 16:27
  • EFE

A witness today retracted his testimony against two former senior government security officials of former President of Panama Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), who are standing trial for alleged illegal wiretapping.

This is the former security agent Jaime Agrazal, who argued before the Sixteenth Criminal Court that he was pressured to implicate former heads of the Security Council of Panama, local media reported, citing statements by the prosecutor and defense lawyers.

The trial, which began on Monday and will last about two weeks, is held behind closed doors and is against Alejandro Garúz and Gustavo Pérez, former directors of the National Security Council during the Martinelli Administration.

They are prosecuted "for the crime against freedom in the form of inviolability of secrecy and right to privacy to the detriment of more than 15 people, who are duly constituted as plaintiffs," according to official information.

The special prosecutor against Organized Crime, Ricaurte González, in a recess of the hearing said on Tuesday about Agrazal's retraction, which is a "very serious" matter.

He added that the judge of the case, Enrique Pérez, will take into account what has been said "to start an investigation, which I think is the right thing to do".

Cristóbal Arboleda, Garuz's lawyer, told reporters that the retraction "has been a shock," as Agrazal "told details of who went to jail" where he was detained for another case "to plea bargain him to mention Martinelli, Garuz and Pérez".

"They gave him (Agrazal) the list of names of personalities that had been allegedly followed up on," added Arboleda, who said "that is really scandalous and implies an unacceptable manipulation of Panamanian justice."

This second day of indictment hearing (trial) of the case known as "wiretapping" ended after the evacuation of a total of 6 testimonial evidence, among collaborators and former collaborators of the Security Council, the Judicial Branch said on Twitter.

The trial against Martinelli's ex-officials will resume tomorrow.

In this case, the subordinates of Garúz and Pérez, Ronny Ramiro Rodríguez and William Pitti, are also charged, who are in an unknown location and with an arrest warrant.

Martinelli faces in the Supreme Court of Justice a criminal case for allegedly ordering the illegal wiretapping on more than a hundred people, including businesspeople, politicians and journalists.

Martinelli, 66, for whom the Prosecutor's Office is asking for 21 years in prison, has been held in a jail on the banks of the Panama Canal since June 11, when he was extradited by the United States after spending a year in a federal jail in that country in response to the extradition request of the Panamanian Justice for the case of wiretapping. 


Source: EFE

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