Panama’s government to sue Costa Rica website for defamation

May 14, 2010

The Panamanian government said Wednesday it will sue a Costa Rican online news portal, Nuestro País, for defamation following a series of articles that have stirred controversy in Costa Rica´s neighbor to the south.

According to a statement from the Secretary of Communications, lawyers representing Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli “in the coming days will sue (in Costa Rica) the digital daily Nuestro País and the people responsible for defaming Panama.”

The legal threat came after Carlos Salazar, a writer for Nuestro País (http://www.elpais.cr), alleged on a radio broadcast that the Panama Canal is controlled by Israelis.

The Panamanian authorities charge that this claim “could put the state security at risk” by possibly inciting an Islamist terrorist attack on the country.

Nuestro País also has published several articles about alleged links between Martinelli and drug traffickers, as well as an alleged breakdown in relations between Panama and the United States. The Panamanian government and the U.S. Embassy in Panama have denied these claims.

“It´s clear there´s an evil influence behind these publications, which is why the government will take legal action against the publications and against whoever is involved,” the government statement said.

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