The National Council of Refugees of Colombia has rejected the political asylum request of Mayer Mizrachi, the nephew of the fugitive former president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli. Mizrachi faces major charges of corruption in Panama; he was released from a Colombian prison, under suspicious circumstances, where bribery was suspected. He may appeal this decision, as it is permitted under local rules of practice of the Foreign Ministry, but he remains free, and not in custody.
The Mizrachi case is seen as a litmus test of the ability of the present government of Panama to bring a major player in the country's dark, corruption-plagued past, to justice. The failure to obtain a conviction, and then imprison Mizrachi will reveal whether reform has truly arrived in Panama.
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