Politics 28-06-2018

Defense suffers new setback, judge refuses objection

At yesterday's hearing, the judge of guarantees, Jerónimo Mejía, denied to the defense of the former president the objection presented to the accusation made by the prosecutor, in which it was alleged that his client had not been imputed

The former president entered the courtroom with the book of the First World War, by Juan Eslava.

The judge of guarantees Jerónimo Mejía, during the hearing of accusation against former President Ricardo Martinelli, held yesterday in the Judicial Body, rejected the incident of objection filed by the former governor's defense on October 19, 2015. In said appeal, the attorneys they wanted the accusation made by prosecutor Harry Díaz to be declared void, arguing that his client had not been charged and that the prosecutor had missed a vital step in the process that guaranteed due process in the case.

As if it were a chair of law, the judge of guarantees, after having listened to the statements of the complainants and the attorneys of Martinelli, supported in detail the criteria that led him to make that decision.

Mejía's decision thus ruled out one of the main arguments of the ex -mandante's lawyers, which had even been used as a tool by the defense in the Southern District Court of Florida to avoid the extradition of his client to Panama.

At the hearing held yesterday, Sidney Sitton explained that the defense did not have the opportunity to exercise their right to defense in the absence of an imputation against his client. He compared his client's case with the Nuremberg trial of 1945, in which he was entitled to have an imputation, to the Nazis captured for crimes against humanity and atrocious crimes.

In the aforementioned case of Nuremberg, there were no similar precedents in the whole history of universal prosecution, the trial established jurisprudence and the accused were condemned.

The answer that the judge of guarantees gave to Sitton was forceful. He began by saying that the objection of the defense should be made in the phase of previous allegations of the hearing, and not ten days after the prosecutor presented the indictment, as the defense did. 'Failure to comply with any of these processes has legal consequences,' Mejía said.

Then he made a vast comparison between an ordinary process and that of a deputy, the condition that the ex-governor acquired in the Central American Parliament and maintained when the process began.

In the case of the proceedings against deputies - the judge explained after having explained the way in which an accusation is made in ordinary cases -, the imputation occurs when the public prosecutor considers that there are sufficient elements that link the deputy to the crime. That is, when there is a precise, clear and circumstantial relationship of the attributed fact, place and time of its realization.

The only way to know that is if someone has done a previous investigation. 'The deputy charges the complainant, it does not have to be in an imputation hearing. Where is it written that it can not be done any other way? "The judge asked those present in the room of the Second Court of Justice of the Judicial Organ, where the diligence was carried out.

While Mejía brandished his position, Martinelli made some notes in a notebook, a custom he has adopted in almost all audiences.

Thus the judge continued his approach and added that the accusation is also synonymous with the knowledge of the elements that can be attributed against a person, and that the lawyers of the former president had full access to the folder where the evidence accumulated and should have informed him . "They can not tell me that Ricardo Martinelli did not know what was happening because the lawyers would be in serious ethical problems," the judge emphasized.

Mejía specified that in the same accusation hearing it is possible to make the imputation, the latter occurs when the punishable act is proven.

At the end of the hearing, La Estrella de Panamá spoke with Sittón about the judge's decision. 'When I hear Judge Mejía say this, it seems to me that I'm at Universal Studios watching the clown' Krusty '(from the Simpsons series), that's where I felt when I heard that explanation.'

The lawyer exclaimed that you can not try to sell the idea of omitting such an important step for the defense, as is the imputation, and that it infringes the right that he has from that moment to exercise his defense and collect the elements of conviction.


The indictment hearing began at 9:45 am yesterday. The exmandatario was transferred in time to the facilities of the Judicial Organ. On the corridor to the living room, guarded by three guards, he shouted, as he has done on previous occasions in front of the press, that his rights are being violated.

In his hands he carried the book The First World War, told for skeptics, by Juan Eslava Galán. The work refers to the war that was fought from the trenches. Maybe, as he visualizes himself, in his own battle, from El Renacer.

In the work, the novelist echoes the military operations, the harshness of the war and the mistakes of some generals who did not seem to understand that old strategies with modern weapons could not be used.

Martinelli's face was much calmer than on Monday afternoon, when he constantly gripped his forehead and head with his palms showing his discomfort. That day, when he was allowed to speak, he said he felt very bad, with many pains.

Yesterday, Martinelli took refuge in his annotations. From time to time he listened to the voice of the lawyer sitting on his right, who spoke in his ear. He came dressed in a blue jacket, jeans and a polo shirt. His face looks thinner in comparison to the years in which he ruled the country (2009-2014). Yesterday the judge did not give him the floor, as he did in the previous hearings in which he has outlined that it is all about political persecution.

His wife Marta, his daughter, his sisters, and other relatives accompanied him throughout the hearing. Also prominent figures of his party, the deputies Miguel Fanovich and Carlos 'Tito' Afú, among others.


After the defense requested the nullity of the accusation, the prosecutor took the floor and looked at the defense. He told the lawyers that they are reluctant to abide by the Court's judgments. He explained that an accusation carries more guarantees for the accused than an imputation. He reminded the defenders of the defendant that previously they have resorted to norms that support the accusation.

Articles that deal with the investigation time available to the prosecutor to collect the evidence and the sum of elements collected to make an accusation. In addition, he recalled that this has been a subject exceeded, because when a complaint is filed, it is accepted as an imputation in special cases, such as the case against the defendant for alleged phone taps and two fraud offenses.

Immediately the judge granted the floor to the plaintiffs' lawyers. The majority agreed that what was presented by the lawyers of Martinelli's defense consisted in delaying the process. They even asked the judge to call defense attorneys to order in order to move forward in the process that has been stalled in the health of the exmandatario, when the evaluation of evidence should be discussed.

Rodolfo Pinzón, lawyer of Balbina Herrera; Nicomedes Castillo, defender of Juan Carlos Navarro; Carlos Herrera, lawyer of Mauro Zúñiga; David Cuevas, on behalf of Rosendo Rivera; Michell Doens in own representation; and Johann Jaramillo, Rubén Polanco's lawyer, requested that the incident presented by


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