U.S. Extradites Ex-Panama Leader Back Home for Trial

Panama’s former president to be extradited home Monday: lawyer

Martinelli had initially contested his extradition in the US, but dropped his appeals.

Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in NY, U.S. on September 25, 2013.

Panamanian former president Ricardo Martinelli arrived home Monday after his extradition from the United States to face charges of spying on journalists and political opponents.

"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.

A handcuffed Martinelli, escorted by US Marshals, greeted reporters gathered to see him off at the airport in the Miami area.

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According to a statement by the Justice Department, Martinelli was indicted in Panama for illicitly monitoring the private communications of more than 150 people he identified as "targets" through the use of two multi-million dollar surveillance systems. Panama qualified for the tournament, which begins on Thursday.

The International Police issued Red Alert in April 2017 for the capture of Martinelli, who communicated with Panama through social networks and videos, in which he insisted on his innocence and being a victim of political persecution.

Mr Martinelli is being sent to the same prison where Panama's former military leader, General Manuel Noriega, spent the last years of his life.

General Noriega died in May previous year, aged 83, after serving time in prison in the U.S. and Panama for drug-trafficking, money laundering and racketeering.

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