Judge issues order for Martinelli’s arrest

935Views 0Comments Posted 22/02/2024


The Second Liquidator of Criminal Cases judge of the First Judicial Circuit of Panama, Baloisa Marquínez, ordered the arrest of former president Ricardo Martinelli, sentenced to 10 years and 8 months in prison for money laundering in the New Business case reports La Prensa.

The decision was communicated by the Judicial Body (OJ) on Thursday, February 22, although it was adopted the day before by Judge Marquínez, through Auto Vario 26, in which she considers that Martinelli should have been notified to the court last January 15, in compliance with a personal precautionary measure that was imposed during the investigation phase. 

The former president did not appear, which “ further aggravates the risk of flight, especially when the case is only waiting for requests for clarification to be resolved, including two in favor of the former president, which was sent on the 20th. of February 2024 to the Superior Liquidation Court of Panama for the corresponding procedure .”

These requests for clarification were already rejected, Thursday, hours before the OJ issued Judge Marquínez's statement.

Given the failure to comply with the precautionary notification measure, last January, prosecutor Emeldo Márquez requested the arrest of Martinelli, who is now holed up in the Nicaraguan embassy, ​​where he intends to seek asylum. His lawyer Carlos Carrillo answered prosecutor Márquez's request with a note from the Nicaraguan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, issued on February 7, the same day that his client hid in the embassy.

However, the judge considered that this note from the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry does not meet the requirements demanded in article 877 of the Judicial Code for documents issued by a foreign country, "in such a way that they can be considered as evidence."

“The decision [of Judge Marquínez] analyzed and weighed the seriousness of the crime charged, the risk of flight evidenced by the conduct of the convicted person, the need to guarantee the effectiveness of the judicial process, and the failure to comply with the precautionary measure of reporting,” he says. the OJ statement.

“It is concluded that the preventive detention against the convicted former president is proportional and necessary to ensure the appearance of the sanctioned person before justice and safeguard the interests of society,” the note added.

Martinelli, who is a presidential candidate for the Realizing Goals and Alliance parties, would be disqualified, because the Political Constitution prohibits a person sentenced to more than five years in prison from aspiring to the presidency.

Martinelli's sentence was issued last July by Judge Marquínez and ratified by the Superior Liquidation Court in October. On February 2, the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice did not admit an appeal, so the conviction remains final.

With Martinelli, four other defendants were convicted, although his is the harshest sentence. In addition to the 128 months in prison, he must pay a fine of $19.2 million. The judge ordered the confiscation of 60% of the shares of Editora Panamá América, SA (Epasa), which has Martinelli as a beneficiary, although it is now known that the assets of that company have already been transferred to another company.

Information in development...