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Spokesman: US to extradite former Panamanian president

June 8, 2018

MIAMI (AP) — The U.S. government has agreed to extradite former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli to his home country to face political espionage and embezzlement charges.

Martinelli’s attorney said Friday she was informed a day earlier about the State Department’s decision. Lawyer Inna Shapovalov said in an email it wasn’t clear when Martinelli would go back.

Martinelli has been jailed in Miami since his arrest at his home in June 2017. On May 15 he asked the State Department to deny the extradition request, saying that he would be tortured in Panama.

The 66-year-old Martinelli was Panama’s president from 2009 to 2014. He is accused of embezzlement and illegally monitoring phone calls and other communications. He claims the charges are false claims from political enemies.

A Miami judge previously approved Martinelli’s extradition.

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