Panama's Martinelli transferred from jail to house arrest

A Panamanian court has ordered former President Ricardo Martinelli to be transferred from jail to house arrest.

The country's judicial branch said Wednesday on Twitter that a court "orders the cessation of the provisional detention of the ex-president of the Republic for his completion of a one-year term and imposes the step of house arrest."

The order was issued after Martinelli's lawyers requested that he be freed after serving a year behind bars on charges of political espionage.

Lawyer Carlos Carrillo confirmed that his client had been released.

Martinelli was extradited from Miami to Panama on June 11 of last year to face trial. Since then, the 67-year-old leader has been held at El Renancer prison and transferred to legal hearings under heavy police surveillance.