US arrests former Panama president sought for extradition

Claudine Rigal
Juin 13, 2017

U.S. Marshals in Florida arrested former Panama President Ricardo Martinelli on Monday, a month after Interpol issued a so-called "red notice" for his arrest.

Martinelli was taken into custody without incident as he emerged from a dwelling outside Miami testerday evening, according to Manny Puri, assistant chief of the agency's district office in Miami.

He is being held at a federal detention center in Miami and is slated to appear in court on Tuesday, according to the Herald.

Martinelli had been accused of using government funds to illegally spy on more than 150 political rivals.

In September 2016, the Central American nation sent an extradition request to the US for the return of Martinelli.

Panama President Ricardo Martinelli gestures during a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Panama City April 19, 2012.

It is unclear which charges were included in the provisional arrest warrant because it is still under seal. A spokesman for Martinelli told the Miami Herald in December that the former president was not in the United States to avoid prosecution but because "he faces political persecution by [Panamanian] President Juan Carlos Varela's administration".

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