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Panama’s Former President Ricardo Martinelli Acquitted Of Corruption Charges

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Ricardo Martinelli, who served as the 36th President of the Republic of Panama from 2009 to 2014, has been found not guilty by a Panamanian court on charges of corruption as well as the illegal wiretapping of phones. The prosecutors had accused Ricardo Martinelli of being deeply connected to a scheme that had used public funds for recording private conversations and then using those recordings to browbeat the rival politicians during his 6-year term in office.

Ricardo Martinelli was deported from the United States of America on June 11, 2018, to Panama, particularly to face trial on the severe charges of corruption and illegally wiretapping of phones. However, in spite of all the evidence that was presented to the court, Ricardo Martinelli was found not guilty, and as a result, he celebrated with his supporters outside the court as soon as the hearing got over.

The 67-year-old controversial figure, who had invariably denied being related to any law-breaking activity, recently said to many mainstream media outlets that his arch-enemies formulated this entire trial. The prosecutors had alleged that he intentionally spied on about 150 people which included several journalists, politicians and trade union leaders.

In 2015, as per Panama’s Supreme Court order, a warrant was issued by the legal authorities for the arrest of Ricardo Martinelli and hardly days before a rigorous investigation was fired off into the corruption accusations against the former Panama President, Ricardo Martinelli fled away to the US. In 2017, after Panama made an extradition request for Ricardo Martinelli, he was arrested and detained in federal custody in the United States near his house situated in Coral Gables.

Ricardo Martinelli had attempted numerous times to get political asylum since, according to him, the allegations that were made against him were part of a political feud. Ricardo Martinelli’s team of legal experts and attorneys made a bunch of appeals against the extradition of their client. However, nothing had worked because the USA accepted the extradition request in June of 2018. After Ricardo Martinelli was extradited to Panama City, he was kept in the same jail where General Manuel Noreiga, the former military leader of Panama had spent much of his adult life.

Note: This article was originally published here.

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        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

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        Find out more about her campaign here.

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        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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