Published: Wed, June 13, 2018

Former Panama President Martinelli extradited from US

Former Panama President Martinelli extradited from US

Mr Martinelli was detained and taken into U.S. federal custody near his home in Coral Gables, Florida, in June 2017 after Panama issued an extradition request.

Deputy foreign minister Luis Hincapie said Panama had also asked the United States to extradite Martinelli's sons, Ricardo and Luis.

Martinelli has maintained his innocence and said he is a victim of political persecution by current President Juan Carlos Varela, who previously served as his vice president.

Panamanian authorities said Martinelli will be held at the Renacer prison outside Panama City.

In May 2017, Interpol issued an arrest warrant for Martinelli with a so-called "red notice", a request to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition.

"Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of Florida, alongside attorneys for the Department's Office of International Affairs, have worked hard to make sure that former Panamanian President Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal would be extradited back to his home country to face criminal charges", said U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg of the Southern District of Florida. In August 2017 a United States magistrate judge ruled that Martinelli would be sent back to Panama. This prompted Martinelli Berrocal to file in federal court in South Florida a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which asks a judge to determine if a person's imprisonment or detention is lawful. He has denied accusations of embezzlement and illegally monitoring phone calls and other communications.

The United States extradited the former president of Panama on Monday to face allegations of illegal wiretapping and embezzlement in his home country, according to the Justice Department.

With the extradition now complete, Martinelli's case will now move forward in the Panamanian legal system.

Like this: