Defense protests protected witness at Martinelli trial

1,024Views 0Comments Posted 30/05/2019


The  trial of former President Ricardo Martinelli for allegedly ordering spying on opponents of his government (2009-2014), resumed on  Thursday, May 30, with the appearance of a protected witness.

The witness is the person who in 2014 informed the Auxiliary Prosecutor's Office that the "National Security Council (CSN) carried out" illicit interventions and interpretations ", using a device acquired by the State from an Israeli company society.  reports La Prensa. Among the "objectives" of the CSN, the witness listed up to 150 politicians, trade unionists, journalists, leaders of organized civil society and businessmen opposed to Martinelli. The interceptions -according to the protected witness- were carried out clandestinely.

The 's hearing began at 9:42 am and at 12:20 pm, Judge Roberto Tejeira- who presides over the trial court-decreed a recess. The defense objected to the witness's presentation because they claim not to be certain of his identity.

"The defense is afraid that the protected witness has opted not to declare through a closed circuit, but to enter the stand and face the situation ... The same thing he did in 2014 he will do 5 years later, in front of the court, and having the accused lord behind, because he is convinced that it is necessary to tell the truth, "said prosecutor Ricaurte González.

Carlos Carrillo, the coordinator of the  Martinelli team of lawyers, maintains that there have been violations at the intermediate stage and that he has no guarantees that, in effect, it is "the same person who passed himself off as a protected witness."

He added that the prosecution is using the figure of the protected witness to "get" a witness with a distorted voice that was rejected at the time by magistrate judge Jerónimo Mejía . Therefore, Carrillo said announced that he will present an appeal of constitutional guarantees. It would be the sixth appeal presented by the defense, none of which have been successful, but they have slowed the pace of the trial.

The protected witness is the sixth person to testify in the process since the trial began on March 11. The prosecution is expected to call  740 witnesses.

The first to come to the stand was the expert and head of Computing at the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, Luis Enrique Rivera Calle. He was followed by the former CSN Computing chief, Iris González.

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