Two complaints filed with Panama’s Supreme Court claim that pardons granted to two journalists by President Ricardo Martinelli were unconstitutional.
The journalists Sabrina Bacal and Justin González of TVN had been sentenced to jail.
The most recent complaint was filed by lawyer Juan De Dios Hernández Sanjur. It joins an action filed by Miguel Antonio Bernal. Both suits argue the president overstepped his authority in issuing the pardons, since the law states a person must serve part of his sentence before being pardoned in a criminal case. The pardons were granted on the day the prison sentences were announced following a libel case. There has been a continuing media clamor around the world against the sentencing, claiming continuing efforts to suppress freedom of speech in Panama.
The lawyers have filed the appeals because the pardon promotes the idea that the journalists were guilty of a crime in the first place, a notion which has been strongly rejected by national and international news organizations.
Journalists from various media have been summoned to form a human chain tomorrow at noon on Calle 50 to protest the government’s actions against freedom of expression.