The conviction of Ana Matilde Gomez, attorney general of Panama and prosecuted by Martinelli's yes-men because she did what she was hired for and tapped the phone of a victim (at the victim's request) of extortion by a corrupt prosecutor, is yet another act of political self-immolation by Martinelli and his clique of mobsters.
Sure, in theory the Supreme Court is independent, but in reality it was stacked by Martinelli with political and business loyalists who were owed favors, while some of them have questionable histories in money laundering, drugs - and arms trafficking and one magistrate, Winston Spadafora, can't even enter the United States anymore because his corrupt dealings had reached levels far off the Richter scale.
This bunch of thugs - once described as "a judicial madhouse" by the head of the bar association - has with this reckless conviction after a day-long show trial opened the door for Gomez to bring the case before the Inter American Court, which will most likely rule in her favor and condemn the Panamanian state for violations of due process, constitutional rights and what have you.
Gomez was convicted to 6 months in prison, which was then converted to a $4,000 fine. She has already announced that she won't pay the fine, saying that she "won't pay to delinquents". Technically that would mean that she has to be thrown in jail, but that would be a disgrace even the otherwise brain-dead Martinelli mafiosi will want to avoid.
International media earlier reported that Martinelli had Gomez suspended because he wanted to stall an investigation into his money laundering activities for Mexican and Colombian drug cartels.
Also today, news broke that the Panamanian bar association is demanding the suspension of Procurador de la Administración, Oscar Ceville, for....... illegal wiretapping and hacking the computers of his employees, for political purposes. Ironically, Ceville's office was in charge of the prosecution of Ana Matilde Gomez.
Martinelli, meanwhile, has lost most political support he'd need to have a free trade agreement with the US ratified and secure financing for his ambitious plans. Not only are the left and progressive movements protesting his authoritarian rule and lack of respect for human rights, the environment and even human life, but the ultra-conservative CATO institute is voicing publicly the sentiment among conservatives in the US that Martinelli "blew it". In May 2009, the influential institute called Martinelli's election victory an "encouraging shot at progress". Just over a year later, the institute is "Disappointed in Panama" and notes:
Ricardo Martinelli's May 2009 election as president of Panama seemed to bode well for the country's development prospects. During his campaign, he promised to implement bold market-oriented reforms, such as a flat tax (which would have been the first of its kind in the Americas), freer trade, an end to some government subsidies, and less bureaucratic red tape. Unfortunately, not only have those promises gone unfulfilled, but Martinelli's presidency has been marked by interventionist economic measures, cronyism, the erosion of democratic checks and balances, and even harassment of independent media.
Today's Supreme Court decision only confirms the above.
UPDATE: And what does Martinelli himself has to say? He asks us to "turn the page" on the Gomez affair and denies having any involvement with the trial. The first won't happen, because Gomez already announced that her "vindication will be proportional to the sentence" (she'll bring the case before the international courts) and the second nobody with half a brain believes.