Panama’s most anticipated criminal trial begins on Tuesday, March 12 but will not be televised.
The oral trial of former president Ricardo Martinelli, accused of illegally wiretapping at least 150 of his fellow countrymen and women during his last two years in office will begin at 9 a.m.
Among his alleged victims were political opponents, journalists, judges, and businessmen, Prosecutors have called for a 21-year prison term, but local observers and plaintiffs fear that the former authoritarian ruler, if found guilty, could end up with a slap on the wrist shorter term enabling the billionaire businessman to pay his way out of serving time.
He has been in detention in The US and Panama since June 2017 when he was arrested at his $8 million Coral Gables. Miami, waterside mansion. He is currently housed in El Renacer Prison.
A meeting of court officials was held on Friday, March 8 to coordinate the logistics, management, security, and distribution of positions in the trial hearing
It will be held in room 1 of the Plaza Ágora SPA, from starting at 9:00 a.m.
Martinelli is accused of the alleged inviolability of secrecy and the right to privacy and embezzlement and will be defended by a team of Panama’s most expensive lawyers and political cohorts.
The hearing room has space capacity for 78 people, apart from members of the court.
On Friday passes for the defense spaces, the Public Prosecutor's Office, the staff of the judicial office and for the media were distributed.
The trial court is composed of judges Roberto Tejeira, as president; Arlene Caballero, as rapporteur, and third judge Raúl Vergara.