Twenty three prominent human rights organizations have petitioned the Secretary of the Treasury to impose sanctions upon Ricardo Martinelli, the former president of Panama, who is fighting extradition to his country,where he faces an obscene amount of criminal charges pending against him. Copied on the letter is the Secretary of State, who will make the final decision regarding Martinelli's extradition from the United States.
The organizations have invoked what is known as the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Act, which authorizes the US Government to impose financial sanctions and visa restrictions upon foreign nationals involved in corruption and human rights violations. Martinelli, and his associates, are accused of having stolen over $100m for government social projects aimed at assisting the citizens of Panama.
Whether this petition will accelerate the conclusion of Martinelli's extradition is not known, but it demonstrates the universal disgust of the NGOs with the massive corruption he is accused of participating in during his term in office. Panama's anti-corruption prosecutors are eagerly awaiting his extradition, and many Panamanians have questioned why the United States allowed him to enter in the first place, given his sordid record on corruption, insider trading, and illegal surveillance, all of which were well known when he fled to Miami, just ahead of criminal charges.
Readers who wish to review the letter may access the complete text here.
if Panama is going to move towards real reform, Martinelli, his corrupt cabinet members, and his criminal associates, all must end up in a Panama City courtroom, to face justice, and the stolen millions recovered and returned to government accounts.