The children of the former president of Panama Ricardo Martinelli were released from prison in the US and will be deported to their country
The brothers Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto Martinelli, arrested in 2020 in Guatemala and later extradited to the United States, were sentenced in May 2022 for the plot to corruption of the Odebrecht case to 3 years in prison
Ricardo Martinelli Linares and his brother Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares (AP Photo/Moisés Castillo)
The sons of former Panamanian president (2009-2014) Ricardo Martinelli were released this Wednesday from the Allenwood Low Prison in Pennsylvania (United States).
The brothers Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto Martinelli were released at the same time as a reduction in their sentence for good behavior was considered, a figure known in English as “good conduct time release”, according to what they told the news agency EFE.
For security and privacy reasons, they did not provide any additional information on the immediate fate of the brothers.
On Tuesday, sources from the Prosecutor's Office told EFE that The expectation in the case of the Martinellis is that they will go into the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) and be deported on a flight to Panama, for the simple reason that they do not have legal immigration status in the United States.
The Martinelli brothers were sentenced in May 2022 for the corruption plot in the Odebrecht case to 3 years in prison (from their arrest in July 2020) plus 2 on probation, in addition to a fine $250,000 each.
The former president from Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, was also accused of corruption (EFE/Bienvenido Velasco)
The Panamanian media have even brought forward the arrival time of the Martinelli brothers, on Wednesday night.
The return of the Martinelli brothers generates strong attention in Panama because they must face in August together with 34 other people -including their father and former president Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019)- a trial for the Odebrecht case and another locally known as the “Blue Apple” for the alleged payment of multi-million dollar bribes.
The Attorney General of Panama, Javier Caraballo , told reporters the day before that his institution has “high expectations” for the return of the Martinelli brothers and that they face “criminal responsibility” for their actions.
One of the Panamanian lawyers for the two brothers, Luis Eduardo Camacho González, told EFE this Wednesday that his clients will not go to prison because “they have already deposited bail in the courts” that will allow them to continue the case. course of his process released.
He did not detail the amount of the bail, which some Panamanian media estimate at 7 million dollars in each case.
He did say that the strategy of the defense in Panama will be to consider them “not guilty” and that he will insist on two arguments: that they cannot be tried twice for the same facts judged in the United States, and that his clients “provided a service to Odebrecht, which is very different from money laundering.”
The Martinellis were detained in Guatemala for 23 months before they were extradited at the request of the United States between November and December 2021.
(With information from EFE and AP)