(CNN Spanish) – A threat against the president of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, provisionally cost him the release of a man accused by the Public Ministry of spreading, through a social network, “a video where death threats are made and he is incited to commit criminal acts against ”the president.
The provisional arrest, at least for the duration of the investigation, was ordered by a guarantee judge on Saturday; hours later another person, in a separate case, was brought before another judge of guarantees because, according to the Public Ministry, from a social network account “he incited to cause injuries” to the president of Panama.
Against this last person, an impediment was instructed to leave the country and appear every Wednesday before the judicial body. In both cases, which are different and separate, the defendants were charged for the alleged commission of apology for the crime.
José Moncada, lawyer for the person arrested in the first case mentioned, requested an appeal hearing set for July 1, considering, as he said, that the process had irregularities such as the holding of the hearing in a province other than the place where the events occurred.
He also assured that a very severe precautionary measure was applied and argued that although the figure of the president deserves respect, there is the freedom of each individual to make publications on their social networks. In this sense, he said that his client neither created nor recorded the video, but had “the cultural reaction of uploading a video” and that “they are the perils of a public man” such as the president.
For his part, Giovanni Ortega, the defendant’s lawyer in the second case, denounced that the evidence against his client does not meet the minimum requirement established by law and that “due to the way the procedure was carried out, there is a very fine line with freedom of expression, and you don’t have to violate the process to tell people to deal with their opinions in a different way.
CNN asked the State Communication Directorate for comments on these cases, but there was no response, however Harley Mitchell, director of the Legal Department of the Presidency of Panama, was approached, who said that “this matter is regrettable and should concern us all . Fortunately, the authorities involved are taking the necessary and corresponding measures.
On July 1, Laurentino Cortizo fulfills two years in office, in the midst of an economic and health crisis due to the coronavirus, and criticism for his government management.