Panama ex-president Martinelli extradited from US

Lester Mason
June 13, 2018

US authorities on Monday extradited Panama's ex-president Ricardo Martinelli, placing him on a private flight from Miami, Florida to Panama City.

The Foreign Ministry said USA officials turned Martinelli over at Panama City's worldwide airport after a plane carrying him from Miami landed.

In a brief statement released Sunday night, the Panamanian Foreign Ministry said that Martinelli remains in the custody of the government of the United States, until he is delivered to Panamanian authorities.

Martinelli, 66, is accused of spying on the telephone calls of more than 150 people, including journalists and politicians.

A justice of the highest court in Panama issued an arrest warrant for Martinelli in December 2015, and a United States judge ruled that he could be extradited in August 2017. He has denied the charges.

"This extradition is a testament to the Department of Justice's commitment to honoring our extradition treaty obligations", Cronan said. Martinelli had initially contested his extradition in the United States but dropped his appeals.

His wife, Marta de Martinelli, said he went along with the extradition because he did not feel well.

During the hearing, Martinelli said he had serious heart problems, depression and possibly prostate cancer, which meant he should spend the time awaiting trial in a private hospital. "His lawyers are nearly certain that he can get bond".

According to press reports, the former governor, who was imprisoned for nearly a year in a federal prison in the USA state of Florida, departed on a Jet Logistics flight from the Opa-Locka airport in Miami-Dade County. Judge Jeronimo Mejia ordered that medical experts examine Martinelli to determine the severity of his conditions.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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