Spanish version

JUDICIAL AFFAIRS

Martinelli continues to be detained in Miami

He was arrested yesterday.

Spanish version

Temas:

Ricardo Martinelli. Ricardo Martinelli.
Ricardo Martinelli. Archivo

Former President Ricardo Martinelli, detained Monday in Miami, will remain detained without bail under an order by Judge Edwin G. Torres of the South Florida District Court after a hearing to examine the request for extradition filed by Panama

Martinelli appeared before Judge Torres in handcuffs and with a chain around his waist. He wore the uniform of the federal prisoners: short-sleeved shirt and brown pants, and at all times he was escorted by US marshalls. He was linked to other detainees. His was the first one attended by the judge, before a small room crowded with the public.

The first thing raised by Martinelli's lawyer, Carlos Jiménez, was the prison conditions of his client. He said that he was isolated in a cell, completely alone, without television. He mentioned the cardiac problems of his defendant and that this recent one underwent a procedure in a hospital of Miami. 

Jiménez later stated that the case against his client is purely political and that he was struck by the fact that Martinelli was arrested just days after announcing his intentions to run as vice president in 2019, and less than one week before President Juan Carlos Varela was scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump in the White House.

Imagen de la audiencia a Ricardo Martinelli, este martes 13 de junio de 2017. Expandir Imagen
Imagen de la audiencia a Ricardo Martinelli, este martes 13 de junio de 2017. Tomada de Twitter

He also recalled that the US government knew that Martinelli was based in Miami, that he had a request for political asylum and that he was not hiding. 

Judge Torres told the parties that next Tuesday he will hold a hearing to hear the allegations of Martinelli's defense regarding extradition. At least until that date, the former president will continue to be detained and will not be allowed to receive visitors, except for his lawyers. 

Prosecutor Benjamin Greenberg and his assistant Adam Fels filed the request for extradition from Panama to Judge Torres. 

The request for extradition is based on a bilateral treaty signed by the United States and Panama in 1904, as well as the 2003 United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention and the 2004 Cybercrime Convention. 

Martinelli is charged with the unauthorized interception of communications from the National Security Council during his government. According to the investigation, between 2012 and May 2014, two months before the end of his term, communications were intercepted of about 150 people, including politicians, journalists, members of organized civil society, business leaders and rivals of Martinelli

The former president was charged on Dec. 11, 2015. Judge Jerónimo Mejía declared Martinelli "in default" for failing to appear at the indictment hearing. On Dec. 21, the Supreme Court ordered his pretrial detention. 

On Sept. 28, 2016, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested the United States Department of State detain and extradite Martinelli. On May 22, 2017, Interpol formally issued a "red alert" for the location and detention of the former president. 

In this case, Alejandro Garúz and Gustavo Pérez, both former directors of the National Security Council in the Martinelli government, are also being tried. The preliminary hearing for them is on Aug. 7. 

Martinelli left Panama on Jan. 28, 2015 and has not returned since. In April, La Prensa contacted him at a waterfront condominium in Brickell. He was arrested at 6:30 p.m. Monday while he was going to another property in Coral Gables, where he now resides.

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