ALEJANDRO GARUZ one of the two defendants in the Panama government wiretapping scandal had a short lived dream of spending the night of Wednesday August 19 in his own bed, instead of in a prison cell.
The dream was quickly shattered when chief organized crime prosecutor Nahaniel Murgas, and Angel Alvarez lawyer for six victims of wiretapping- appealed the decision of the sixteenth Criminal judge, Enrique Perez, to substitute house arrest for detention behind bars for two ex-secretaries of the National Security Council (CNS) and prosecuted for alleged offenses against the inviolability of secrecy and privacy. The other defendant, former police chief Gustavo Perez would not have been transferred as he faces other charges.
The appeals were filed after the close of the preliminary hearing of the case, and the judge’s decision was put on hold., so Garuz and Perez are still detained in El Renacer prison.
Both are accused by eavesdropping on over 150 people during the government of Ricardo Martinelli.
Two other accused , William Pitti and Ronny Rodriguez, are fugitives from justice.
It will be up to the Second Superior Court to assign a judge to hear the appeals.
Prosecutor Murgas said that the preventive detention measure against Perez and Garuz should not be changed because the offense for which they are accused is “very serious” and requires an exemplary punishment for those who violated the rules.
Murgas argued in his appeal that the judge did not notify the victims about changing the preventive measure of Garuz and Perez and that this is an obligation, as provided by the law on protection of victims of crime.
Angel Alvarez, who serves as counsel to several victims who have filed complainants in the process, announced at the same hearing, his appeal against the judge’s decision.
Alvarez represents the deputy Zulay Rodríguez and her husband Alvaro Testa; Professor Miguel Antonio Bernal; former president Ernesto Perez Balladares; the leader of the teachers’ unions Yadira Pino and former deputy Yassir Purcait.