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News > Panama

Panama: Activists Reject Non-Guilty Verdict for Lawmaker Arias

  • The sign reads,

    The sign reads, "Rapists are lawmakers in Panama", April. 19, 2021. | Photo: EFE

Published 20 April 2021

The case against him was opened in 2019 over carnal rape and libidinous acts committed against two women when he was acting as a physician.

Protesters took to the streets in Panama to reject a Supreme Court's rule exonerating Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) lawmaker Arquesio Arias over the crime of rape and aggravated lewd acts against two women. 


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On Monday, women's rights activists gathered at the Parliament headquarters to demand justice shouting "violator" and "we are tired of corruption."

"We are tired of impunity, of abusers and rapists... lawmaker Arias goes back to work and seats at Parliament", protester Maurice Louis said.

The qualified majority necessary for a guilty verdict was not obtained as 5 out of 9 judges voted in favor of Arias.

The meme reads, "Protests over ruling that declared congressman Arias not guilty."

The PRD representative was indicted on charges of carnal rape and libidinous acts allegedly committed in 2019 while assisting two women, including a minor, in a gynecological consultation in the La Guna Yala community. 

Lawmakers can only be prosecuted by the Superior Court. After the verdict, independent parliamentarians presented a bill to amend criminal procedures so legal processes against representatives can be decided by a simple majority.  

"By establishing special trials, which grant privileges to lawmakers, magistrates, and presidents, the criminal processes become political, and the decision will depend on political manipulation, violating the principle of judicial independence," lawyer Carlos Lee assured.

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