Newspaper: Former Panamanian president extradited home from US

Newspaper: Former Panamanian president extradited home from US

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

Martinelli was taken into custody near his home in the U.S. state of Florida in June 2017 after Panama requested his extradition on charges that he used public money to spy on more than 150 political rivals during his 2009-2014 term.

Mr Martinelli, 66, was arrested a year ago in Miami, Florida.

"Today, the U.S. Marshals Service executed that warrant, transported Martinelli to Panama, and delivered him to the custody of Panamanian authorities", the Department of Justice said in a statement Monday. The politician said that he is a victim of political persecution by the current President, a former political ally.

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Martinelli was transferred to the hospital from the El Renacer prison at midnight Monday after receiving permission from the judge handling his case.

"On June 11, 2018, pursuant to the extradition treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of Panama, the United States extradited the former President of Panama Ricardo Martinelli to face criminal charges in Panama", the release said. Judge Jeronimo Mejia ordered that medical experts examine Martinelli to determine the severity of his conditions. They did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and their court filings were not publicly available at press time. Last year, Odebrecht agreed to pay $220 million in fines to Panama and to co-operate with probes into bribes paid to Panamanian officials.

Panamanian prosecutors in November accused the two of receiving $49 million from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht while their father was president.

Hincapie told Panamanian television the extradition request for Martinelli's sons was sent "some weeks ago".

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