The plenary of Panama’s Supreme Court which is discussing its competence to judge the wire-tapping case against ex-president Ricardo Martinelli was declared in permanent session after meeting from 9 a.m. to 3.35 p.m. on Thursday, December 6
It will meet again on Friday, at 9:00 am, to discuss the draft decision that declines the competence of the process followed by Martinelli, for presumed embezzlement and crimes against the inviolability of secrecy and the right to privacy.
The magistrates were summoned to discuss the draft decision prepared by the rapporteur Oydén Ortega, who granted an appeal for guarantees presented by Luis Eduardo Camacho González one of Martinelli’s battery of lawyers,
Martinelli's lawyer, in which he claims the loss of the Court's jurisdiction to prosecute his client, since he lost his deputy status when he resigned from the Central American Parliament ( Parlacen ), at the end of l July.
It was the second time that they met to discuss Ortega's project. The first was on November 29, when it was agreed to introduce modifications proposed by four magistrates.
Civil groups and legal observers are concerned that if the Supreme Court does not hear the case and it is handled by a lower court, the judge will be overwhelmed by delaying tactics and legal maneuvers introduced by a phalanx of high profile lawyers.
Prosecutor Harry Diaz is calling for a 21-year jail term for Martinelli.
As this one case sucks up the entire capacity of the courts, those who have been waiting in line for years, to have their cases and appeals heard, are again shuffled off to the side. The only message is that political cases are important, anyone who is not rich or a politician, or both, is insignificant, and not entitled to the same rights of speedy access to the courts. Laura Michelle Reese's appeal was filed 16 months ago and still has never been looked at. The population of the women's prison in Algorrobos is 400% capacity, many of whom are innocent victims of the illegal system, being denied access to courts. If justice cannot be provided, the state has no right to incarcerate. Hear these cases or release these people.