Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


The Supreme Court of Justice of Panama has held, in a decision issued on December 19, that the human rights of the fugitive, former President Ricardo Martinelli, were not violated when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested his extradition from the United States. The Court declined to cancel the extradition order, which was reportedly transmitted abroad on September 27. Most observers of the tactics employed by Martinelli's remaining attorneys, since he left Panama on January 28, 2015, have been to simply confuse the issues, irrespective of the fact that there was no legal basis to contest the extradition.

Curiously, the status of the pending extradition process is unknown; some sources claim it is about to be denied by American authorities, on the grounds that the documents did not conform to the requirements of Panamanian law. Others allege that Martinelli's covert status, as a longtime informant, protected by a certain US government agency, will result in an indefinite delay in a decision from Washington, effectively frustrating Panamanian efforts to obtain justice, in more than a dozen criminal cases involving Martinelli, involving the theft of millions of dollars, and the illegal surveillance of Panamanians.

Will Ricardo Martinelli ever see the inside of a Panamanian courtroom, as a criminal defendant ? We cannot say, but we will be closely monitoring the proceedings that seeks to bring him to justice in Panama.

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