While protests continue against the recent attacks on press freedom, the crackdown on journalists goes on.
Today El Siglo journalist Rafael Antonio Ruíz was - on appeal - convicted to 500 days in prison or a $1000 fine, for reporting that the then chief of then president Martin Torrijos's security detail, one Juan de León, was being investigated for involvement with drug trafficking.
Earlier, TVN reporters Justino Gonzalez and Sabrina Bacal were convicted for truthfully reporting about an investigation into corrupt activities of immigration officials. An immediate pardon by president Martinelli did nothing to stop the international uproar the case generated, and Gonzalez has since stated that he can't and won't accept the pardon.
Martinelli has so far not commented on this new case.
Meanwhile, yesterday an obscure group of no less obscure lawyers met with our fake procurador Bonissi in restaurant Tinajas. The group, called Movimiento de Abogados Gremialistas, pleads for reinstatement of the law that makes it possible for public officials to start criminal defamation cases against journalists. The group is headed by lawyer Rogelio Cruz - a former Attorney General who was fired because of his narco dealings - and includes one Gilberto Boutin - an ethically challenged lawyer with ties to money laundering. In other words, legal representatives of narco trafficking and money laundering interests in Panama seek to further protect their (government) clients from being exposed in the media.
Down here in the Bananama Republic newsroom, we just want to reiterate our position that we won't have anything to do with this imbecile Panamanian criminal defamation circus. We don't file such complaints, and neither do we respond to them.
Yes, Okke it is a “smokescreen” circus…