Ricardo Martinelli and Juan Carlos Varela at the American ambassador’s residence before they broke up. With them is Ambassador Phyllis Phyllis Powers, whose predecessor hosted the meeting in the same place at which the 2009 Martinelli – Varela slate was arranged. US Embassy in Panama photo.
No need for Ulloa to cite US legal permission
Eduardo Ulloa came to office in the wake of a scandal about his predecessor’s inappropriate conversations about prosecutorial decisions with former president Varela. Most Panamanians expected and Ulloa made pledges to run a Public Ministry free of political influence.
That’s not entirely possible, as laws, after all, get made by politicians. But freedom from the crude partisan manipulations that have historically been a hallmark of Panamanian justice is, although a tall order, not too much to expect. Panamanians should demand and expect independent prosecutors and an independent judiciary.
We should also expect and demand NATIONAL independence in those spheres – not a renunciation or diminution of international law, as misguidedly advocated in the legislature, but Panamanian decisions made under Panamanian law, of which our international treaties are a part. We should cooperate with other countries in justice matters of mutual concern but ask no foreign government to decide our cases.
Thus Ulloa’s repeated citations of a letter from US authorities that they don’t object to Ricardo Martinelli being investigated, and perhaps tried and punished, for crimes other than the specific invasions of privacy and theft charges for which he was extradited are unfortunate. The international law is pretty clear. There can be extradition for theft under the 1904 US – Panamanian extradition treaty, which contains a specialty clause and which does not allow extraditions for invasion of privacy. But Ricardo Martinelli was extradited under several treaties, including the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, which has no specialty clause. With no applicable specialty clause, a country in not limited about which crimes an extradited suspect may be tried and punished.
We don’t need the authority of the Trump State Department to clarify that point of law. It’s unseemly to cite it.
Tick tock. Photo by Rosemary Ketchum.
The final decision about Trump’s disloyal crimes?
If you are an adult US citizen, that’s up to you.
As the Republicans show how richly they deserve to lose control of the US Senate, the evidence continues to pile up. Donald Trump is a repeat offender. He has asked for the intervention of at least two foreign governments into sovereign US matters in order to promote his personal ambitions. Here he’s charged with respect to Ukraine, but he did that with the Russians and probably with one or more other countries. It’s banana republic stuff, a sellout of the country to foreign powers.
Does he have the votes lined up in the Senate for a slam-dunk acquittal? Probably. It just goes to show that the real problem is the Republicans, of which Donald Trump is but a hideous symptom.
However, the final verdict is with the voters in November – the Grand Jury of the Republic. Join it. Register and vote. Adult US citizens, by federal law, have a right to register and vote from abroad, by absentee ballot in the last place in the USA where they lived. There are various state laws about ex-convicts voting, ID requirements, and whether people living abroad can vote for state and local offices. Many Republican-run states are trying to make it harder to vote. But in general you do have a federal right to vote for the federal offices – US president, US senator and US representative – if you order your ballot each election year. People who have American passports because they are US citizens but who have never lived in the USA generally have the right to vote where one of their parents once lived.
Register to vote and order your ballot by clicking on this link.
Vote early and vote often.
Bear in mind…
One reason I don’t drink is that I want to know when I am having a good time.
Either the United States will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.
W.E.B. Du Bois
A happy childhood is poor preparation for human contacts.
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