Posted: 10 Nov 2021 13:35 GMT
The local Justice considered that there was insufficient evidence to convict the politician, who had already been imprisoned for two years.
A court of the First Judicial District of Panama acquitted former President Ricardo Martinelli on Tuesday for the case of illegal spying on opponents known as ‘Punctures’, considering that not enough evidence was obtained to convict the politician, who celebrated the resolution with his followers.
“I was politically persecuted and imprisoned for two years. Panama won. Let’s unite the country, without grudges. What happened to me should not happen to any Panamanian,” the leader published on his Twitter account.
Martinelli, who was in charge of the Executive Power between 2009 and 2014, was being investigated for accusations of interceptions in communications, monitoring, surveillance and persecution against some 150 politicians, leaders, businessmen and journalists. The complaint stated that the ex-president had ordered this irregular activity in the last two years of administration, since National Security Council (CSN).
In 2019, the defendant had already been found innocentBut the following year an appeals court overturned the sentence and ordered the trial to be repeated. Now, with this new unanimous ruling, the resolution of the three acting magistrates remains firm, because the previous judicial determination was repeated and other resources are no longer allowed to reverse the decision.
For its part, the Prosecutor’s Office had requested an eight-year sentence, stating that it had strong evidence. However, judges Ibeth Franco Vega, Jennifer Cristine Saavedra Naranjo and Marysol Leyton Osorio considered that there was “an evidentiary gap”. Likewise, the full ruling will be read on November 24.
The ‘Pinchazos’ case had its complexity from the beginning: in 2015 the leader had escaped to the United States while the investigation against him began. The Panamanian Justice managed to finalize his extradition only in 2018. Immediately afterwards, Martinelli resigned from the regional deputation and the file was in charge of the ordinary Justice.
“Let’s stop the political persecution”
Upon leaving the building of the Accusatory Penal System, in Panama City, Martinelli said: “Justice has finally been applied, seven years in this torture, in this torture. I thank God and the Panamanian Justice, I have suffered a lot.” . In addition, he celebrated by lifting a champion belt, typical of boxing.
Before, hundreds of supporters awaited the decision outside the judicial facilities, to the rhythm of a batucada.
Once acquitted, the ex-president also he expressed himself on his own television signal, Nex: “Let’s build a better country, let’s put political persecution aside.”
Other controversial cases
This businessman from the supermarket business came to the Presidency in 2009, marking a speech against corruption. However, when he left the Government he was investigated by the Justice after various scandals that tarnished his management.
In fact, he is also prosecuted for the case Odebrecht, the multinational construction company that carried out bribes in the region in exchange for public works contracts, for which is prohibited from leaving the country. In this regard, his sons, Luis and Ricardo Martinelli Linares, are detained in Guatemala and will be extradited to the United States.
In addition, the former president faces an investigation known as “New Business”, linked to the questioned purchase of many media.
Anyway, Martinelli sounds like a possible candidate for the general elections of 2024 and he already has a new political party to run: Performing Goals (RM).
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