Wiretap ruling for ex-Security Council  bosses could affect Martinelli

Martinelli - Jail or high office?

A ruling in an illegal wiretapping case, that handed down 50 months jail terms to two former directors of the National Security Council (CSN), could affect the upcoming trial of ex-president Ricardo Martinelli, a would be  Panama mayoralty candidate.

The 16th  Criminal Judge, Enriquez Perez declared Alejandro Garúz and Gustavo Pérez, “criminally responsible” as primary accomplices in the crime against freedom, and the inviolability of secrecy and the right to privacy.

In addition to the jail term, Pérez and Garúz are disqualified from public office for the same period, once the main penalty has been served.

” Messrs. Gustavo Adolfo Pérez De La Ossa and Alejandro Garúz Recuero provided cooperation with which the criminal acts, object of the present criminal investigation, could not have been carried out, ” said the judge.

ex-CSN agents Ronny Rodríguez and William Pitti, who are fugitives were also identified. Although the decision is not final because it can be appealed, says TVN Noticias, Pérez’s ruling sets a precedent and opportunity for the victims recognized in the Martinelli case.

The jurist Carlos Herrera, plaintiff lawyer of Mauro Zúñiga, told  TVN, that the most important of the sentence is the “degree of responsibility” that the judge finds. “It leads us to interpret that Garúz and Pérez] have important participation, but that they have not been the people who have devised or are not the direct authors of this serious crime. For what we believe, that there is a direct intention that the author or principal responsible for this serious crime can be found, which, from our point of view, is nothing more than the former president because he was the head of the Security Council. “

Lawyer Ernesto Cedeño considered that Judge Pérez’s ruling reflects that there was a proven fact, that is, telephone interception, and it will depend on the assigned prosecutor and the complainants to verify Martinelli’s connection to the crime.

“What would have to be tested with Martinelli is if he gave the instructions or by omission, did not interfere with to hinder the situation,” Cedeño told TVN2.com. He said that the plaintiffs would take advantage of this sentence to ask that Martinelli be sentenced as Garúz and Pérez, although that would not be enough.

“We have to see the connection of Martinelli with that Martinelli’s defense will be able to say that  although it is true they have been condemned, those are the only ones responsible.”  “Cedeño told TVN-2.com.

And despite running for two positions of popular election, Cedeño said that for this process Martinelli does not have electoral criminal jurisdiction and cannot recover the benefit in this specific case.

21-year sentence request
The fiscal magistrate Harry Diaz requested a 21 years jail for Martinelli. The indictment and the evidence approved in an intermediate hearing by the judge of Guarantees, Jerónimo Mejía, do not vary because these were validated by the Supreme Court. (CSJ), in the ruling in which it declines jurisdiction to the Court of Judgment of the Accusatory Penal System  (SPA ).

It is still  not known when the case will happen in the SPA  and which representative of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP), will be appointed to the case.

The legal team of the ex-president has submitted new appeals before the CSJ against Mejía’s actions. Martinelli has been detained since June 21, 2018, in El Renacer Prison.