Spanish version

JUDICIAL AFFAIRS

Request made to detain Martinelli in illegal surveillance case

A group of victims have petitioned the judge in the case for the former president's arrest.

Spanish version

Temas:

Victims of illegal government surveillance have petitioned Judge Jerome Mejía to order the arrest of former President Ricardo Martinelli in the case.

It has been two weeks since the plenum of the Supreme Court approved the provisional arrest of Martinelli, but Mejia has taken no action on the case. In a brief filed with the court, a number of victims asked Mejía to "act without delay pursuant to the decision rendered by the Supreme Court."

Martinelli was declared absent from a hearing in the case on Dec. 11. That prompted the Supreme Court to order his arrest after it rejected arguments that he had not been properly notified of the hearing. Martinelli fled the country last January, but has commented on the matter extensively on social networks.

According to the victms, it would be "unfair and contrary to the rule of law" for Mejia to continue to delay the case.

The brief was signed by Mitchell Doens, Balbina Herrera, Mauro Zúñiga, Rubén Polanco, Juan Carlos Navarro and Rosendo Rivera.

Francisco Pitti, the lawyer for Navarro, said that Mejia has also failed to include the transcripts from the Dec. 21 decision ordering Martinelli's arrest in the case file.

Herrera said that the Foreign Ministry should be instructed to bring Martinelli back to Panama.

"He is laughing at is while he is sitting in restaurants," she said. "He should face justice, and if he is innocent, he should be acquitted. But if he is guilty, then he needs to assume responsibility."

The former president faces up to 21 years in prison.

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