Bail de­nied for ex-Panama pres­i­dent

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL - — COM­PILED BY DEMO­CRAT-GAZETTE STAFF FROM WIRE RE­PORTS

MI­AMI — A U.S. fed­eral judge in Florida on Fri­day de­nied bail for a for­mer Pana­ma­nian pres­i­dent who is fight­ing ef­forts to send him back to his home coun­try to face po­lit­i­cal-es­pi­onage charges.

U.S. Mag­is­trate Judge Ed­win Tor­res’ or­der points out that Ri­cardo Martinelli’s sig­nif­i­cant wealth and for­eign con­nec­tions make him a se­ri­ous flight risk. Martinelli is a grad­u­ate of the Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville and re­tains ties to the school.

Martinelli was ar­rested in Mi­ami last month on an ex­tra­di­tion war­rant from Panama. A fi­nal ex­tra­di­tion hear­ing is set for July 25.

The for­mer pres­i­dent failed to show up at a De­cem­ber 2015 court hear­ing in Panama on charges that in­clude il­le­gally mon­i­tor­ing phone and other con­ver­sa­tions of at least 150 peo­ple with an ex­ten­sive sur­veil­lance sys­tem he cre­ated with public funds. He de­nies any wrong­do­ing and is seek­ing asy­lum.

AP/The Roanoke Times/ERICA YOON

Peo­ple on tubes Buchanan, Va. float lazily down the James River on Fri­day in

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