Former President of Panama Due in Miami Court to Fight Extradition

A former president of Panama is due back in a Miami federal courtroom to fight extradition from the U.S. to his home country to face political espionage charges.

Lawyers for Ricardo Martinelli will argue at Wednesday's hearing that Panama's request is based on slim evidence and that an updated extradition treaty between the two countries took effect after the alleged crimes were committed. U.S. prosecutors say Panama's request is proper and the treaty does apply.

Martinelli, Panama's president from 2009-2014, is accused in Panama of illegally monitoring communications of at least 150 people using an extensive surveillance system. He's also charged with embezzlement of public funds. Marinelli has denied wrongdoing and says the charges are politically motivated.

It's not clear when a federal judge will rule on the extradition request.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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