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Sunday, April 20 2014 @ 04:17 AM EDT

Supreme Court Deciding Whether Or Not To Try Former President Martin Torrijos For Corruption (CEMIS)

Corruption
Martin Torrijos - Former President of Panama - Now Facing Corruption Charges
Martin Torrijos - Former President of Panama - Now Facing Corruption Charges
The Plenum of the Supreme Court meets today Wednesday July 18 to study whether or not to call the former president Martin Torrijos to trial over the CEMIS case. Also the judges of the Supreme Court are evaluating whether or not to impose a restriction of "country arrest" against Torrijos. The lawyer for former president Torrijos, James Bernard, said they have consistently infringed the rights of the former President Martin Torrijos, who was forced to present a series of incidents before the Supreme Court. Bernard said these incidents have not been resolved by the Supreme Court, and there are eight still pending.

He explained while speaking on the channel 2 TVN morning news broadcast that nine years after the CEMIS scandal first broke in the news, a few supposedly protected witnesses have emerged and they have changed their versions of the events, and in their statements they are starting to mention Torrijos' name. He said that "until 2010, the name of Mr. Torrijos was not mentioned in this record, where there are some tapes or recordings that are the subject of a legal discussion for wrongfulness that were obtained illegally, and are made ​​to an illegal process." "Mr. Carlos Tito Afu has changed his version of events and he involves Mr. Torrijos in this file," said the lawyer Bernard.

He said a case like this that is before the Supreme Court, sets aside important principles relating to due process, and intends to judge a person with evidence arising after 9 years and in the midst of a change of government. Bernard said the former president Torrijos is outside the country in functions related to his job, and he learned about what is happening through the news media. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: A common delaying tactic used by Panamanian lawyers is to file as many "incidents" as possible, in hopes of screwing up or slowing down the process. The goal is to obtain exactly what we have here - a claim that these "incidents" have to be resolved first, before the case can go forward. There's no doubt this is a politically charged case. The PRD kept the CEMIS case buried for the entire five years they were in power from 2004 - 2009, so it's also sort of ironic that now the lawyer representing Martin Torrijos is arguing about the passage of time. Whatever - the CEMIS case slowly grinds forward. I expect this thing to last through the next election cycle, and I would not be surprised at all if there is a guilty verdict right before the next election in May 2014. At this level of the game this isn't a legal case, it's politics. And I predict a guilty verdict not based on the proof or evidence in the case, but rather based on the fact the Supreme Court is dominated by non-PRD judges.

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