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Panama court orders new trial for ex-President Martinelli in spying case

21 Nov 2020 / 11:24 H.

    PANAMA CITY, Nov 20 (Reuters) - A Panamanian court has ordered a new trial of former President Ricardo Martinelli in a case alleging he unlawfully spied on politicians, union leaders and journalists during his 2009-2014 presidency, the country's top prosecutor announced on Friday.

    The appeals court threw out Martinelli's 2019 not guilty verdict, but did not set a date for the new trial.

    Prosecutor Ricaurte Gonzalez cited what he described as "an incorrect assessment of much of the evidence" presented at the previous trial.

    A supermarket tycoon who sought a political comeback in 2019, the ex-president was accused of ordering the interception of telecommunications without judicial authorization for some 150 individuals.

    Martinelli maintained his innocence and accused his successor and one-time ally Juan Carlos Varela of conspiring against him. (Reporting by Elida Moreno; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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