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Panama Supreme Court Orders Arrest of Former President Ricardo Martinelli

LADB Article ID: 79861
Category/Department: Panama
Date: 2016-01-14
By: Louisa Reynolds

On Dec. 21, Panama’s Supreme Court ordered the arrest of former president Ricardo Martinelli, who is accused of using public funds to spy illegally on more than 150 prominent people. During his 2009 to 2014 administration, Martinelli allegedly ordered Panama’s National Security Council to listen to calls, read emails, and have activists, politicians, labor union leaders, lawyers, doctors, and business people followed. The list includes high-ranking members of the opposition Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD), as well as lawmaker José Luis Varela, brother of current president Juan Carlos Varela. Prosecutor Harry Díaz asked the court to order Martinelli’s arrest after the former president failed to appear at a court hearing in early December. A resolution read by Judge Luis María Carrasco says the provisional detention order “is fully justified because of evident inattention to the process on the part of the investigated.” The Supreme Court could now issue a red-status Interpol arrest warrant.

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