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SPYING TRIAL: Ex judge quuestioned by Martinelli on tapped email


Erasmo Pinilla

Posted 26/06/2019

Former  Electoral Tribunal (TE)  magistrate Erasmo Pinilla who appeared as a witness in the wiretapping trial of ex-president Ricardo Martinelli on Tuesday, June 25 said that at one time when Martinelli invited the three TE judges to the presidential palace he asked why Pinilla was communicating with PRD leader r Mitchell Doens. The question came just a few days after he had received an email from Doens.

On  Monday, the analyst of the Section against Public Order of the CSN and a TVN journalist were presented as prosecution witnesses.   The journalist said that when he realized he was being intercepted he was stressed feared for himself and his family and had to adopt security measures.



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The attempts at translation of mainstream media articles by Newsroom Panama are pitiful.

Retributions ..wait for them.

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Martinelli sons one step closer to exradition


THE Martinelli brothers were last ean in San Francisco.

Posted 26/06/2019

A ruling of  Panama’s  Supreme Court has moved the extradition process of the  fugitive sons of former president Ricardo Martinelli authorities a step closer to implementation.

The brothers  Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares are being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Special Prosecutor bribes paid by Odebrecht.

The action of the prosecution "was developed in strict adherence to the respect of human rights and fundamental guarantees of the parties," says the judgment of the Court, which denied an injunction presented by the defense to invalidate the extradition process, arguing, hat their clients human rights had been violated.

On December 26, 2017, the prosecution requested the Foreign Ministry to process the extradition. Recently, the Foreign Ministry reported that the process remains in force reports La Prensa.

They  are being prosecutedfor money laundering. According to the prosecution, they would have received at least $53 million of the bribes paid by Odebrecht and bank accounts containing over $22 million in Switzerland and Andorra have been seized along with a helicopter and a luxury apartment in Madrid.

On May 5, they were elected as alternate deputies of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) but their mother arrived at the Electoral Tribunal with a power of attorney, withdrawing their seats.

The Supreme Court of ruled that the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office, which investigates the bribes paid by Odebrecht in Panama, acted "in strict adherence to the respect of human rights" when it requested the extradition of Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, to investigate them as part of this process.

The ruling of the Court, with a presentation by Judge Efrén Tello, resolves an Amparo of constitutional guarantees filed by lawyer Luis Eduardo Camacho González on behalf of the brothers.

 The lawyer argued that at the time the prosecution requested the extradition of his clients (on December 26, 2017) he had no competence because the term had expired to investigate the case.

In addition, Camacho González alleged that at that time his clients had electoral criminal jurisdiction. The extradition process "places our representatives before serious harm," argued the lawyer, who, claiming that the brothers Martinelli Linares were violated fundamental guarantees and human rights.

In the ruling, Tello said that, by claiming that the prosecution had no competence to continue the process, the Martinelli Linares lawyer failed to prove "any violation" of the fundamental rights of its clients.

With regard to the electoral criminal jurisdiction, he said  that at the time of the request for extradition, the Martinelli Linares did not have that shell.

Therefore, he concluded that the children of former President Martinelli "have not been violated fundamental rights." And denied the protection of guarantees.

Panama as asked Interpol to issue a red alert for the capture of the brothers Martinelli Linares for the Odebrecht case and for  the country's judicial authorities manage their extradition through the Foreign Ministry.

Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares is also being tried - and his extradition has been requested - for the Blue Apple case related to the alleged payment of bribes by state contractors.

Both were detained in Miami, on November 20, 2018, as immigration authorities in that country reported that their visas were revoked in 2017 and that they had been "illegally" in that nation since then. The two were in the Krome detention center for more than 15 ays, where a judge granted them $1 million each  in release bonds.

The Foreign Ministry recently reported that the extradition process remains. Meanwhile, the secretary general of the Public Ministry, Rolando Rodríguez, confirmed that the Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office keeps red alert requests to Interpol.

The two brothers were elected as alternate deputies to the Central American Parliament on May 5.



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Sick man” Martinelli breakfasted over spy reports - witness


Joaquín Vasquez,

Posted 26/06/2019

The espionage structure directly affected not only opposition politicians but also journalists, businessmen, lawyers and judges who were victims of the violation of their privacy, according to the Public Ministry(MP) prosecutors as they rolled out the 13th witness in the spying trial of Ricardo Martinelli on Wednesday, June 26.

Everything was through devices bought with money from the State, with which they had access to personal information of those affected without judicial authorization says the MP

Prosecutor Aurelio Vásquez said: "we are not talking about political issues anymore, we are talking about a journalist (Rubén Polanco) and many more people are coming, who will detail what happened, lawyers even, so they are the ones that should definitely be heard and that is where the court has to assess who is telling the truth. "

Joaquín Vasquez, a PRD politician referring to Martinelli said: “"this man is a sick man, who had breakfast every day reading telephone espionage".

He said  "we saw that intimate conversations of us, the PRD leadership, appeared in glosses, appeared in gossip, then we presumed that they were spying on us, we presumed that they planted microphones in cars, in homes, in offices, our emails intervened, and cell phones.

"No one can be above the law and against the one who breaks the law, there must be certainty of punishment, if you do not sentence the guilty you create a failed state of anarchy," he stressed.

 "Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal has to assume the consequences of the human rights violations that were committed under his government," he maintained.



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SPYING TRIAL: Not a fly moved without Numero Uno’s OK - Witness


Dr Mario Zuniga

Posted 28/06/2019

Dr Mauro Zúñiga a victim of wiretapping during the Ricardo Martinelli administration and a witness in the trial of th ex-president has no doubts about who was behind the interception of his emails and harassment by people following him and his family. At one stage while giving evidence on Thursday, June 27 he got up from his chair, turned to the left, fixed his eyes on the room,. raised his right arm and pointed directly at Martinelli as the man behind the harassment.

 Zúñiga appeared for four hours as the fifteenth witness of the prosecution, acting as victim and plaintiff, in the trial of  Martinelli accused of illegal interception and embezzlement.

The 76-year-old doctor said that he knows that the accused was the one who ordered him to follow because during his term "not even a  a fly moved without his authorization", because "he was numero uno and everything was under his mandate. "

 He said  that he headed the Association of Physicians, Dentists and Related Persons of the Social Security Fund (Amoacss) for eight years , and was a  sharp critic the Ricardo Martinelli government.

That is why he says he and his wife were followed by a car without license plates, and that when he rebuked the driver, he responded that he was following orders from "number one". He said that the car stopped on the street outside his building and that when he left they followed him. But, instead of doing it covertly as would be expected with a task of this nature, the driver of the car would lower the window to make himself visible and intimidate him.

On one occasion  when his wife was followed in a beach sector by a car with no plates they took refuge in the  San Carlos, police station nut didn’t mske a denunciation. "For what", said the doctor.:" Martinelli was the president it would mean nothing.”.

Carlos Carrillo, defender of Marinelli , alleges that Zúñiga's accusations are the product of his lawyer's feedback, which provides him with a summary of what happens in the hearing. "That of naming the boss, and of knowing what another witness said earlier in the hearing that the fact of the expansion what he promotes is to sustain an accusation that has no basis."



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84  witnesses in Martinelli trial may be reduced


Martinelli arriving for trial

Posted 30/06/2019

The Public Prosecutor's Office (MP)  has announced that it may not produce all of its 84 witnesses and experts in the wiretapping and embezzlement trial of former president Ricardo Martinelli in which it is calling for a 21-year sentence.

According to the prosecution not all witnesses  are necessary  to prove the case

The high-end defense team echoes Martinelli’s mantra of political persecution.

Waiting in the wings are investigations  of  at least a dozen corruption cases, involving the ex-president  which will fatten the wallets of the team

Meanwhile his two fugitive sons are in the US, facing an extradition process to face corruption and money laundering charges.



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Martinelli asks escorts without balaclavas


Posted 02/07/2019

Ex-President Ricardo Martinelli has asked the Court hearing in his espionage case to eliminate the police guards with balaclavas when transferring him from his home to the Accusatory Penal System.

The request was made on Tuesday, July 2, before the hearing was suspended due to   Judge Arlene Caballero’s non-appearance due to family problems.

According to Martinelli, it is an exaggeration to have so many policemen and that they are hooded when they move him from his home to the trial court.

Martinelli faces a trial in the case of illegal telephone interception and embezzlement and is under house arrest

Highly dangerous 
Nicomedes Castillo, prosecuting attorney, pointed out that the Trial Court is not competent to decide the number of police officers that should take care of Martinelli.

"We are not moving any accused, we are moving an ex-president of the Republic, who was delivered a year ago with documentation from the United States Marshall, saying he was a highly dangerous person," Castillo said.

He added that security measures for Martinelli are the responsibility of the National Police and not of the Court.



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Case  against Martinelli “already proven” - prosecutor


Posted 03/07/2019

The Public Ministry   believes  that the wiretapping and embezzlement  crimes of former president Ricardo Martinelli  are  “already proven” and may not call all of the 77 witnesses.

Prosecutor Aurelio Vásquez said on Tuesday, July 2,  that it is enough to prove that one of the victims was the object of the wiretappingand that was already aired at the hearing.

He said that several of the victims who already testified at the trial described "in great detail" the time, manner and place of how their emails, telephone conversations and personal dialogues were spied on.

Among those who have told their case before the judges are Mitchell Doens and Balbina Herrera, leaders of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, who reported that through the Auxiliary Prosecutor's Office they learned that they had spied on emails with information on party matters and personal issues.

Another of those who testified was the ex-judge of the Electoral Tribunal  Erasmo Pinilla, who gave details of how an email he exchanged with Doens was intercepted

Doctor Mauro Zúñiga and the lawyer Genaro López Bultrón are among those who have presented their testimony before the trial court.

Prosecutor Vásquez stressed that the testimonies presented by the prosecution have been "consistent", since not only have confirmed that there were interceptions, but there has been evidence of the loss of equipment used by officials of  the National Security Council (CSN) to spy on communications.

Of the 77 witnesses proposed by the prosecution 17 have appeared and, 10  of which are victims.

, Roniel Ortiz,  part of Martinelli’s legal team  said that until now the prosecution has not been able to prove Martinelli's participation in any illicit act and reiterated that most of the evidence presented was fabricated by the CSN.

On, Wednesday July 3, the Public Ministry plans to present three more victims of the punctures. In the list of those still to be declared, are two auditors who prepared a report on the purchase of the disappeared spying equipment.



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Martinelli apologized  to lawyer  for wiretapping


Rosendo Rivera

Posted 03/07/2019

Ricardo Martinelli's former lawyer, Rosendo Rivera told the trial court on Wednesday that the ex-president had intervened his communications and when confronted, admitted that he had "punctured" him and apologized.

Rivera said he once saw a close associate of Martinelli taking copies of sensitive documents related to Juan Carlos Navarro. Rivera informed Navarro and his lawyer.

Rivera told the Court that the day after he had that communication with Navarro and his lawyer, he received a complaint from Salomón Shamah, a former Minister of Tourism and even the former president who called him to revoke the powers he had given him as a lawyer, and told him: "either you  are with me or you are against me.”

The only person interested in that information to harm Juan Carlos Navarro was Ricardo Martinelli and he showed it  in the following days, Rivera said.



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Spying trial: Panama needs “moral reparation”


WITNESSES - Stonley Motta and Sánchez Cárdenas

Posted 04/07/2019

Prominent  Panama businessman Stanley Motta was the first witness to take the stand in the wiretapping and embezzlement trial of former president Ricardo Martinelli on Thursday, July 4.

During his appearance before the trial court he acknowledged two emails. One sent by his cousin Felipe Motta was related to the labeling of alcoholic beverages that was imposed during the Martinelli administration (2009-2014). The other was sent by Luis Mouynes, manager of TVN Media, about the departure of communicator Fernando Correa from the television station and the closure of the program La Última Hora 

"I feel that I have fulfilled my duty to be a witness in this trial," said Motta, when he finished his testimony. "The two emails they showed me did not have much impact," he  told the media.

PRD  leader Sánchez Cárdenas, was next up and said:  "my communications were used in a way that I still cannot explain."

They were banal and trivial conversations, which were related to family issues. They  were recorded and heard by several people in the Presidency of that time he said.

"I feel a little depressed by this situation, in politics you should not use this type of methods."

He said  that he expects justice to be done for the good of the country. "Not to hurt anyone, but  the country needs that moral reparation," said Sánchez Cárdenas.



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No impartial justice says spy trial witness


Guido Rogriguez

Posted 05/07/2019

The former news director of TVN Channel 2, Guido Rodríguez,  and current account prosecuto told, the trial court, that he received information, in 2013, about the intervention of an email when he was in charge of the news of the television station.

"I know that from the Presidency they sent people to hack the private communications of the people they had as their goal," said Rodriguez. who currently serves as the country's attorney general.

 These interceptions were directed, he said, to those considered them adversaries during the Martinelli administration. Among the targets were "not docile" journalists, he said.

According to Rodríguez, he participated in a shareholders meeting of La Prensa in 2012, and in that event, Martinelli said: "I do manage information on all of you" when questioning the editorial policy of the newspaper.

Rodriguez said he hoped that justice would be done and that "our administration" would do it. This, to say that it would be a "penalty" that this is achieved in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights since it is a violation of human rights.

Prior to Rodriguez's testimony, it was the turn of political leader Olimpo Sáez, who identified an email that was intercepted in 2012.

In the trial court, Saez said he questioned the country's justice. "Panamanian justice works very partially, often the powerful have resources and the people below have a lot of difficulties," he said.

According to him, "justice is on foot", so he does not consider that there is an impartial justice in all cases, not only the one that currently concerns former President Ricardo Martinelli  (2009-2014), who is accused of  invasion  of secrecy and right to privacy, and two forms of embezzlement


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Wirtetapped ”friend” of  Martinelli  hits back


MARTINELLI sent strange message

Posted 08/07/2019

A Panama businessman who described himself as a friend of Ricardo Martinelli, fingered the ex-president on Monday, July 8 when testifying as a prosecution  witness in the wiretapping trial of the former ruler

Jaime Cucalón identified an email he sent to an individual on March 13, 2013, informing him that he was going to make a donation to the political campaign of the PRD presidential candidate Juan Carlos Navarro.

Then, "strangely"  he receives a chat from Martinelli, in which he said that "I did not know that you were lost to the PRD," which seemed strange since the email had only been sent to one person.

Martinelli is accused of the crimes of inviolability of secrecy and right to privacy and two forms of embezzlement.



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Ex-president  moves to dodge atock manipulation  probe


Martinelli leavea his wiretapping trial

Posted 13/07/2019

Lawyers of former president Ricardo Martinelli have made their first moves in helping him evade a string of criminal prosecutions, in addition to the one that enabled his extradition from the United States

Carlos Carrillo, of the  Martinelli team of invoked the principle of specialty before the Eighteenth Criminal Court and requested that his client be excluded from an investigation of the  Seventh Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office for the alleged commission of financial crimes.

Carrillo argued that a person who has been extradited to Panama cannot be prosecuted or detained by any other offense that is not contemplated in the extradition process.

 He said that Martinelli cannot be prosecuted for any case other than the one followed for the alleged commission of crimes against the inviolability of secrecy and the right to privacy, and embezzlement, for which the United States extradited him to Panama on June 11, 2018.

The probe by the Seventh Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office began in 2015, following a complaint lodged with the Public Ministry by the  Superintendency of the Securities Market (SMV).

This legal action was based on information provided by the then intervener of the now defunct Financial Pacific (FP) brokerage house, José Hidrogo, which reported that some people, for their own benefit or that of third parties, would have used privileged information for the purchase of shares of Petaquilla Minerals, which is listed on the Toronto stock exchange.

According to the complaint, the beneficiaries included accounts 100495 High Spirit Overseas; 100244 Distribuidora Comar, SA; 100240 Ricardo Martinelli, and 100620  Jal Offshore.

The privileged information arose from the hierarchical relationship with Ricardo Martinelli, who, as the owner of the investment account 100240 in FP, invested in shares in Petaquilla Minerals when he was President.

Eighteenth criminal judge, Baloisa Marquínez, explained that the file that instructed the prosecution does not show that the ex-president is part of the summary and no charges have been filed against any person.

The Court granted an extension of eight months to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office on June 24 to conclude the investigation.

The prosecution requested the extension based on the fact that it requested judicial assistance to Canada, the British Virgin Islands and the island of Monserrat, in order to establish the connection of other persons with the illicit investigated.

Judge Marquínez stated that, although there is not a plurality of crimes, the investigation does have a certain degree of complexity and this is reflected in the 11 volumes that constitute it. Similar actions

Through his lawyers, Martinelli requested the application of the principle of specialty in two other cases filed in the Supreme Court.

The first is for the alleged abuse of authority and violation of the duties of public servants, after the issuance of 355 pardons in June 2014.

The second is related to the alleged occupation of land in Bahía Honda, Veraguas.

Maerinelli’s name is linked to some dozen  corruption investigations,  including involvement of his two sons, currently on bail in the US.



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Martinelli tweets flouted court decree - no fine


CASUALLY dressed Martinelli arrives at court

Posted 16/07/2019

Former president Ricardo Martinelli got a verbal slap on the wrist on Tuesday, July 16 from the court where he faces trial for illegal wiretapping after he flouted rules laid down when his prison detention was converted to house arrest.

Martinelli made comments on a Twitter account against the statements of the accountants of the Comptroller General at Monday’s hearing.

Prosecutor Ricaurte González and the lawyer of one of the plaintiffs, Nicomedes Castillo, asked the court to fine Martinelli for the alleged comments against accountants Iris Pérez and Amadelis Valderrama.

In a ruling of two votes in favor and one against, the court decided not to fine him because it was not possible to verify exactly what Martinelli's accounts are on Twitter.

However, trial judge, Arlene Caballero, ordered Martinelli not to comment on the trial and the witnesses through the social network and ordered his defense team to present the list of official accounts of the former president in the internet, in order to monitor them.



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Witness claims Martinelli threats, asks protection


Rolando López, fears for his family

Posted 22/07/2019

Rolando López, The former head of Panama's National Security Council (CSN), asked the court for protection on Monday, July 22, after revealing that he has received threats, through a telephone number that, he said, he linked to former president Ricardo Martinelli facing trial for illegal wiretapping.

Lopez was summoned by plaintiffs in the process, in this instance by David Cuevas, Rosendo Rivera's lawyer.

During his testimony, López recalled a July 4 celebration for United States Independence Day, - in 2014 – when  Martinelli approached him and told him to stop asking about equipment that would have been used to make the since , since he had "muscle and money."

After denouncing that he has received these threats, Lopez asked the trial court for protection for him and his family.

The former head of the CSN also said, in his speech, that there were five people who handled the issue of illegal wiretapping: Ricardo Martinelli, Alejandro Garuz, Rony Rodriguez, Ismael Pitti, and William Pitti.

Earlier Prosecutor Ricaurte González clarified that last Wednesday the Public Ministry culminated with the presentation of 40 witnesses: 27 victims, eight members of the National Security Council and five experts.



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Martinelli  boasted of “dossiers on all” -  trial witness


Martinelli arrives at court

Posted 24/07/2019

TV  journalist Álvaro Alvarado testified on Wednesday, July 24  that in an interview with ex-president Ricardo Martinelli. on trial for illegal wiretapping, the ex-president said   he had a  dossier of  “all in the country”

The interview was on  May 19, 2014 days after the general elections  in which Panamenista leader  Juan Carlos Varela won

"I asked him:  'And if someone from Democratic Change, from the bench, who had been elected at that time, moves to Panamenista, what would happen?' The answer literally was: 'I  will revoke the mandate, and believe me revoke the mandate as two and two are four, and believe me I do have the dossier and the pedigree of all in this country’ "Alvarado said.



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Court nixes 4 defense moves in Martinelli wiretap trial


MARTINELLI leaves Court after a down day

Posted 30/07/2019

The high profile defense team of ex-president Ricardo Martinelli got a series of setbacks during the wiretapping trial of ex-president Ricardo Martinelli on  Monday, July 29.

 Among the petitions of Martinelli's defense was the calling of an expert test of the documents that make up the seven booklets that were already verified by the prosecutor's expert, Luis Enrique Rivera Calle, of  the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences . is that an expert document specialist review the documents to establish their authenticity.

Defense lawyer Sidney Sittón indicated that they were handed in the intermediate phase the booklet or paper support and during the trial, some situations arose, where witnesses or experts, pointed out particulars that merit clarification.

They also requested the incorporation of three documents related to the protected witness. After a break of several hours, the Court decided to deny the requests, because there was no "due support".

Carlos Carrillo, of Martinelli's team, said the system has allowed them to be in "total defenselessness" and added that throughout the hearings they have made clear the "discredit" of the evidence presented by the prosecution.

Prosecutor Aurelio Vásquez said the court made it clear to the defense that there was no basis for its requests and the defense contradicts itself by arguing that they did not have the details of the protected witness, but that in the evidence they wanted to introduce they mention it.

Vásquez said the court's decision was"positive." They had to support the rejection of the request, during what he considered a "lost day" on Monday. 

It is expected that the defense team will be presenting  28 witnesses, including former National Security Council officials.



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Martinelli trial verdict Friday at 5, prosecution calls for 21 years  jail


Posted 08/08/2019

With the prosecution calling for a 21-year jail term the verdict in the trial of former Panama president Ricardo Martinelli for illegal wiretapping and embezzlement will be announced at 5 pm on Friday, August 9.

The Oral Trial Court declared itself in permanent session at 4.27 on Thursday after the closing arguments. Earlier in the day, a request by the Public Ministry for the hearing to be televised was opposed by the defense and the court rejected it.

 Ricaurte González, the prosecutor against Organized Crime, asked for a conviction for the alleged commission of four crimes: against the inviolability of secrecy and the right to privacy, and two forms of theft. A 21-year prison sentence is requested in the indictment.

González highlighted as blunt evidence the recognition of the victims to their intervened communications: emails, conversations via WhatsApp, audio recordings and transcripts made "illegally" by officials of the National Security Council, between 2012 and 2014.

The prosecutor also said that eight officials of the National Security Council declared that they recognized that the espionage was carried out from the offices of the entity, located in Quarry Heights, Ancon. To support the crime of peculation, he noted that spy equipment acquired from the company MLM Protection with funds from the National Assistance Program (PAN) , does not appear. 

Carlos Herrera Delegado, lawyer for Mauro Zúñiga, victim of the wiretaps Herrera Delegado also referred to the purchase in favor of MLM Protection and mentioned that since this team had technical deficiencies, the government managed other purchases with Hacking Team and Pegasus. "[MLM] was not fast. That is why they made the purchase of the other equipment to optimize the interception of communications," he said.

Sidney Sittón spoke for the defense team

Seven victims and the accused also addressed the court. Each one had 10 minutes to intervene.

Martinelli arrived early at the escorted by police officers from his residence, in Altos del Golf, where he has been under house arrest since June 11.

" What they are doing is an injustice " He shouted shortly before entering the courtroom.

There were several victims of the punctures, accredited in the file, such as the PRD leaders Balbina Herrera, Francisco Sánchez Cárdenas, Reynaldo Rivera and Yassir Purcait; the former deputy and president of the Panamenista  Party, José Luis Varela; the businessman Aurelio Barría, among others.



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Ricardo Martinelli: former Panama president not guilty of spying

Sat 10 Aug 2019

Prosecutors had sought a 21-year prison term for alleged spying on at least 150 people and misuse of public funds


Panama court declares Ricardo Martinelli ‘not guilty’ of espionage and orders release. Photograph: Bienvenido Velasco/EPA

A Panamanian court has cleared the former president Ricardo Martinelli of political espionage during his administration and ordered him released from house arrest.

The three-judge panel declared Martinelli not guilty on Friday of charges stemming from the purported spying on the communications of at least 150 people and of the alleged misuse of public funds to purchase the equipment to carry out the intercepts during his 2009-2014 administration.

Prosecutors had been seeking a 21-year prison term. Martinelli declared his innocence.

The 67-year-old supermarket tycoon was extradited from Miami in 2018 to face trial in Panama. He initially was ordered held at El Renancer prison during the judicial proceedings, but the trial court transferred him to house arrest in June.

He was charged specifically with interception of communications without judicial authorisation; monitoring, persecution and surveillance without judicial authorisation; and improperly purchasing espionage equipment with state funds.



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Panama ex-president found not guilty of political espionage


Panama’s former President Ricardo Martinelli talks to reporters as he leaves a courthouse after he was found not guilty of political espionage, in Panama City, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. A Panamanian court has cleared Martinelli of political espionage during his administration and ordered him released from house arrest, though the judges are continuing an order barring him from leaving the country. (Eric Batista/Associated Press)

PANAMA CITY — A Panamanian court has cleared former President Ricardo Martinelli of political espionage during his administration and ordered him released from house arrest, though the judges are continuing an order barring him from leaving the country.

The three-judge panel declared Martinelli “not guilty” Friday of charges stemming from the purported spying on the communications of at least 150 people and of the alleged misuse of public funds to purchase the equipment to carry out the intercepts during his 2009-2014 administration.

The court’s decision said evidence presented by the prosecution as messages from cellphones had been given a rigorous technical analysis by experts. “The accusation is based on vague and ill-structured facts,” the ruling said.

As for the charge of misuse of state funds, the judges said the prosecution did not establish that Martinelli acquired the spying equipment or that it was in his possession.



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OPINION: Wiretap ruling- cancer of impunity


Posted 10/08/2019

Martinelli adopted some of the favorite words of President Trump and told reporters the trial was a “hoax” and blamed former President Juan Carlos Varela - who was his vice president in the 2009-2014 period



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Unions plan to protest wiretap  “show trial”


Posted 10/08/2019

Panama’s  National Front for the Defense of Economic and Social Rights (Frenadeso)  has called for a demonstration at the Supreme Court on Monday, August 12  to protest the acquittal of former president Ricardo Martinelli on illegal wiretapping charges.

The demonstration, said Frenadeso spokespersons will be from 4:00 pm when they will send a message of indignation to both the magistrates of the Supreme Court and to the trial judges.

The union leadership considered as a "mockery" the decision taken by the Court, as they consider the administration of former President Martinelli, "one of the most repressive", for events that occurred in the province of Bocas del Toro and Colon.

They believe  the whole process "was nothing more than a show", since the ex-president has been released despite the fact that crimes were committed.



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Acquitted ex-president;s victory lap as Supreme Court judge expresses “disgust”


Premature celebration?

Posted 10/08/2019

Ec president Ricardo Martinelli did a series of victory laps through Panama shopping malls accompanied by bodyguards and a  group of  CD supporters on Saturday, August 10, to celebrate his acquittal on charges of illegal wiretapping of political opponents, journalists, and businessmen.

His tour coincided with a declaration by Supreme Court  Judge, Harry Diaz that  "These judges of oral judgment are a shame. Legal scrutiny and the submission of morals under the rampant corruption that plagues us. I am disgusted to death. What a shame! The whole process is cleared in the intermediate phase. It is not a matter of discussion. of the oral trial phase, "he said.

Díaz acted as prosecutor of the case from its admission, in June 2015, until December 7, 2018, when the Supreme Court declined the competence of the case after Martinelli's strategic resignation as deputy of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen).

On October 9, 2015, Díaz filed an indictment in which he requested a sentence of 21 years in prison for the alleged commission of four crimes: interception of communications without judicial authorization; monitoring, persecution, and surveillance without judicial authorization; subtraction, and use peculation.

Martinelli’s victory celebration could prove premature as the Public Ministry considers appeals that could reach the Supreme Court.



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The magical recovery of a terminally ill “victim”


Martinelli courtroom health attack

Posted 11/08/2019

Panama already knows that Ricardo Martinelli has more than one face. One of them is that of a terminally ill patient who shows up during their stays in prisons. Another is the one of forgiving life, which he exhibits every time he obtains any benefit for himself or knows that he is untouchable or protected by a force that only he knows. And that has been the quarrelsome face that has given us - with greater intensity if possible - since the Trial Court found him not guilty of charges of political espionage and peculation. He who once pleaded for  the clemency of  judges alleging ailments such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, glaucoma, depression and even a non-existent colon cancer, now leaves the court making threats to the Attorney General of the Nation, to prosecutors and a former president of the Republic. The latter was warned that he will look for him in the restaurant he presumes he frequents, to put him "a fist." And he even called on SPI agents guarding one and the other to participate in the hypothetical fray.

This announcement was even celebrated by followers and lawyers, who are supposed to be servants of justice. As anarchy reigns in this country, all you need to do is open bets. And all to the rhythm of Mariachi – LA PRENSA. August 11.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to What's Next for Richardo Martinelli and His Family

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