Panama’s former president to be extradited home Monday: lawyer

13 June, 2018, 20:46 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Panama’s former president to be extradited home Monday: lawyer

Nauert said Martinelli's extradition followed normal procedures established by the countries' bilateral extradition treaty.

Panamanian authorities said Martinelli will be held at the Renacer prison outside Panama City.

Martinelli, 66, was charged with misappropriation of public funds, and in the pardon of the prisoners in exchange for bribes. He faces embezzlement charges and allegations he wiretapped judges, political rivals and others while in office.

The International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, issued a warrant for Martinelli Berrocal's arrest in May 2017.

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"Following a year of litigation in the United States, former Panamanian President Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal has been extradited to Panama to face charges of embezzlement and illegal wiretapping", said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan. About a month later, a US magistrate judge in the Southern District of Florida ruled the USA could extradite for foreign politician to face charges in his home country. Martinelli appealed the decision but was rejected by the Southern District of Florida.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said it will be for Panamanian courts to determine Martinelli's guilt.

Martinelli is accused of spying on the telephone calls of more than 150 people, including journalists and politicians. They did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and their court filings were not publicly available at press time. Under this council, a "Special Services" unit carried out confidential activities at the president's direction, including the unsanctioned intercept and recording of communications from the cell phones and computers of Martinelli's identified targets. On May 15 he asked the State Department to deny the extradition request, saying that he would be tortured in Panama.

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