Ex-Panama President Ricardo Martinelli hospitalised before hearing

Martinelli was president from 2009 to 2014 and is facing charges of illegally intercepting communications and embezzlement among others. He denies any wrongdoing.

The family and lawyers for former Panama President Ricardo Martinelli called again for his release from jail after he was hospitalised for the second time since his extradition from the United States last month.

A judge suspended a hearing yesterday at which Martinelli was supposed to appear.

His wife, Marta de Martinelli, said he was hospitalised Monday evening with high blood pressure and other problems.

She said the stress of pre-trial confinement and the hearings are jeopardising his health.

So far the courts have not agreed to free him pending trial.

Martinelli was president from 2009 to 2014 and is facing charges of illegally intercepting communications and embezzlement among others. He denies any wrongdoing.

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