Former Panamanian president extradited home from US - Newspaper

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Nauert said Martinelli's extradition followed normal procedures established by the countries' bilateral extradition treaty.

According to press reports, the former governor, who was imprisoned for nearly a year in a federal prison in the USA state of Florida, departed on a Jet Logistics flight from the Opa-Locka airport in Miami-Dade County.

Martinelli has maintained his innocence and said he is a victim of political persecution by current President Juan Carlos Varela, who previously served as his vice president. He claims the charges are false claims from political enemies. About a month later, a US magistrate judge in the Southern District of Florida ruled the USA could extradite for foreign politician to face charges in his home country.

Panama’s former president to be extradited home Monday: lawyer
US extradites Panama ex-president Ricardo Martinelli

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. Martinelli's petition for a writ of habeas corpus was denied by the federal district court in the Southern District of Florida in January.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said it will be for Panamanian courts to determine Martinelli's guilt. He is accused of embezzlement and illegally monitoring phone calls and other communications. That agency used multimillion-dollar surveillance systems to listen in on and record cell phone conversations and computer communications from "targets", including Panamanian judges, USA diplomats, union activists, political allies and opponents, relatives of politicians and business rivals, according to information in filings to support his extradition.

The United States extradited the former president of Panama on Monday to face allegations of illegal wiretapping and embezzlement in his home country, according to the Justice Department.

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