The member of the legal defense representing former President Ricardo Martinelli, Sidney Sittón, questioned the role of magistrate Harry Diaz, who in his opinion acts as judge and party against the former Head of State of Panama. In statements issued to Panama Today, Sittón, referred to the issue of Bahia Honda, "magistrate Harry Diaz who presided over the hearing, is a judge (on April 10) but also plays the role of a prosecutor magistrate against Ricardo Martinelli. Just in the most backward countries something similar can be seen where a magistrate simultaneously plays two roles. Moreover, we also have that the Supreme Court of Justice had admitted to process the complaint of a man who has already died, who is called Aurelio Camaño, within that process. Now it turns out that the magistrate that does not protect any guarantee in favor of the defendant, went so far as to accept as a whistleblower a person to whom the plenary of the Supreme Court has not given him active legitimacy in this process. You are facing a situation of a savage state. This is comparable to what is experienced in backward countries like Burundi. This is unacceptable within what is an effective judicial protection. What has been done by magistrate Harry Diaz is to go so far as to deny the defense the opportunity to collect elements of conviction before the Public Prosecutor (MP) that justly demonstrate the double judgment and the statute of limitation other than the lack of active legitimacy for that complainant and despite the fact that the Prosecutor was in favor of the MP being ordered to deliver those elements or evidence, the guarantee judge rejected it, denied it, but even worse, the prosecutor magistrate withdrew the accusation that he was going to file and the magistrate refused to make the withdrawal of the prosecutor from the accusation and we had to transfer that decision when it is a prosecutor's power to withdraw the accusation."
Sittón reported that after filing the appeal they will wait for the Supreme Court of Justice to set a date for the call of the Plenary where they will argue the appeal filed.
Martinelli's situation in the United States
The lawyer said that they are awaiting the US decisions with respect to the granting or not of the bail awarded by Judge Marcia G. Cooke. "Depending on these circumstances, then some actions will be taken. However, it is important to indicate that the former president of the Republic for better or worse is a person who plays a significant role in politics within the Republic of Panama and the last survey conducted in this country showed that he is the main leader of the opposition. That tells you why there is the intention to keep former president Ricardo Martinelli within a judicial fence. He is an important factor in Panamanian politics," said Sittón.
The health conditions of the former president are still the same that led Judge Cooke to consider the issue of bail and would also be part of the variables to be taken into account in the personal and legal actions defined by Martinelli. "We believe that despite all this, we must maintain a mental strength that has helped to withstand all this misunderstanding," said the lawyer.
The Justice system and Varela
"The fate of current President of the Republic of Panama Juan Carlos Varela will depend on who wins the Presidency. At this moment I have not listened to any of the political actors who aspire to be President of the Republic, saying that he will claim that the current president in office received $10.7 million from the construction company Odebrecht. What is striking is the fact that none of the candidates has said what they will claim. If there is a President who is truly seeking an independence from the Judiciary, he should complain against it in order to be investigated," said Sidney Sittón, who added that the actions of the Judicial Branch are directly related to the interest of who assumes the Political Power in the country.
He regards the issue of the independence of Justice as a problem in the magistrates’ attitude, "every time a President is leaving office, immediately the other branches of the State begin to wean themselves from that Executive Branch that subjugates them. It is a constant that has been occurring since 1990."
Sittón EXCLUSIVE: Maduro has answers about payments to Varela
Sittón sent a question to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro: "You need to respond if you received in 2009 a request from the vice president then, current president of the Republic of Panama, Mr. Juan Carlos Varela, to pay him through an account to a Panamanian businessman. How much was that amount and how was that payment made? It is a question that I have based on some information that has been disclosed to me." The lawyer said that, "contrary to what people may think, it is not about the businessman linked to an airline, no."
"I want to know if the current president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, in 2009, did some favors to make a payment to the vice president then, now president of the Republic of Panama ... It seems that there was an interest dissociated from his functions and that he would have to explain then, but I think that it would be appropriate that the President of Venezuela clarify this situation," Sittón said on the issue related to the current diplomatic crisis between the two countries and that has been sharpened in the trade relations of both countries.