Panama ex-president Martinelli faces up to 21 years in jail

By Agence France-Presse

Panama’s ex-president Ricardo Martinelli faces up to 21 years in jail for spying on political foes, reporters and business leaders while in power, prosecutors said Friday.

Panama's former president (2009-2014) Ricardo Martinelli (C), is escorted by police officers as he leaves the court where he was attending a hearing over wiretapping allegations, to be taken to the hospital in Panama City on March 22, 2019. - Martinelli's trial was interrupted when he suffered an hypertension episode. (Photo by Luis ACOSTA / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)
Panama’s former president (2009-2014) Ricardo Martinelli (C), is escorted by police officers as he leaves the court where he was attending a hearing over wiretapping allegations, to be taken to the hospital in Panama City on March 22, 2019. (Photo by Luis ACOSTA / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Martinelli created and directed “an organized state apparatus” for domestic espionage when in office from 2009-2014, said prosecutor Ricaurte Gonzalez.

The then-president targeted about 150 individuals with illegal communications tapping — done with no court order, the prosecutor said.

Those critical of Martinelli seemed to have drawn his closest scrutiny, becoming targets for his taps, Gonzalez added.

Attorney Carlos Carrillo of Martinelli’s legal team, however, insisted that it was impossible to link Martinelli himself with the offenses of which he has been accused.

 
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