Martinelli trial verdict Friday at 5, prosecution calls for 21 years  jail

881Views 0Comments Posted 08/08/2019

With the prosecution calling for a 21-year jail term the verdict in the trial of former Panama president Ricardo Martinelli for illegal wiretapping and embezzlement will be announced at 5 pm on Friday, August 9.

The Oral Trial Court declared itself in permanent session at 4.27 on Thursday after the closing arguments. Earlier in the day, a request by the Public Ministry for the hearing to be televised was opposed by the defense and the court rejected it.

 Ricaurte González, the prosecutor against Organized Crime, asked for a conviction for the alleged commission of four crimes: against the inviolability of secrecy and the right to privacy, and two forms of theft. A 21-year prison sentence is requested in the indictment.

González highlighted as blunt evidence the recognition of the victims to their intervened communications: emails, conversations via WhatsApp, audio recordings and transcripts made "illegally" by officials of the National Security Council, between 2012 and 2014.

The prosecutor also said that eight officials of the National Security Council declared that they recognized that the espionage was carried out from the offices of the entity, located in Quarry Heights, Ancon. To support the crime of peculation, he noted that spy equipment acquired from the company MLM Protection with funds from the National Assistance Program (PAN) , does not appear. 

Carlos Herrera Delegado, lawyer for Mauro Zúñiga, victim of the wiretaps Herrera Delegado also referred to the purchase in favor of MLM Protection and mentioned that since this team had technical deficiencies, the government managed other purchases with Hacking Team and Pegasus. "[MLM] was not fast. That is why they made the purchase of the other equipment to optimize the interception of communications," he said.

Sidney Sittón spoke for the defense team

Seven victims and the accused also addressed the court. Each one had 10 minutes to intervene.

Martinelli arrived early at the escorted by police officers from his residence, in Altos del Golf, where he has been under house arrest since June 11.

" What they are doing is an injustice " He shouted shortly before entering the courtroom.

There were several victims of the punctures, accredited in the file, such as the PRD leaders Balbina Herrera, Francisco Sánchez Cárdenas, Reynaldo Rivera and Yassir Purcait; the former deputy and president of the Panamenista  Party, José Luis Varela; the businessman Aurelio Barría, among others.


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