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Cablegate: Panamanian Madam Headed to Prison

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS PANAMA 000419

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


STATE PASS FOR G/TIP/LINDERMAN/HOLLIDAY
WHA/PPC/FALLS, WHA/CEN/BRIGHAM


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL PM KTIP LABOR HUMAN RIGHTSPOLMIL
SUBJECT: PANAMANIAN MADAM HEADED TO PRISON

REF: PANAMA 229


-------
SUMMARY
-------
1. (U) After two trials, two guilty verdicts, years of
appeals, and not one day behind bars, the former head of a
child prostitution ring, Thonya Xiomara Hubbard (aka Madam
Thonya), will be spending the next 76 months in prison. On
February 16, the Supreme Appeal Court rejected Hubbard's
appeal and ordered her immediate arrest based on sentences
handed down by the 5th and 14th criminal courts for
procurement of sexual services for others, corruption of
minors, and procurement of sexual services with minors.
Hubbard's child prostitution ring was originally uncovered,
in 2000, by a Spanish television channel. This decision
comes less than a month after an unrelated child prostitution
ring was broken up (Ref A) and in the wake of highly
publicized GOP proposals to create a "cyber police force" to
investigate child pornography on the Internet End Summary.


------------
AT LONG LAST
------------
2. (U) The case of Thonya Xiomara Hubbard (aka Madam
Thonya) has been on-going since 2000. In that year, Antena
Tres, a Spanish television station, conducted an undercover
report in which Hubbard offered the sexual services of minors
in exchange for cash to reporters posing as foreign
businessman. The first investigation resulted in Hubbard
being sentenced to 40 months in prison for "pimping".
However, she was freed on bail pending appeal. In 2002, a
second formal complaint was filed by the mother of a minor
who Hubbard had hired out for sexual services. In the second
trial, Hubbard was found guilty and sentenced to 36 months in
jail for corruption of a minor and procurement of sexual
services to the detriment of a minor. A Hubbard associate,
Thanya Yamila de La Lastra Bedoya is already serving a 40
month sentence and a former client, Venezuelan businessman
Larry Pinto, was sentenced and served a 27 month jail term.
Hubbard maintains her innocence and claims the Spanish
reporters were on a witch-hunt against her and that all
charges are unjustified.

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------------------
MAKING BIG STRIDES
------------------
3. (U) The Supreme Appeal Court's decision comes less than
a month after a high-profile bust of another child
prostitution ring (Ref A). In addition, in the same week as
the Hubbard decision, the GOP announced it is considering
proposals to establish a "cyber police force" to monitor and
investigate internet crimes in Panama. The GOP is especially
concerned about internet "scams", identity theft, and child
pornography. (NOTE: The E-Panama Commission is a
collaboration between the GOP and the Canadian Commerce
Corporation. End Note.)


-------
COMMENT
-------
4. (SBU) If the decision to send Hubbard to prison holds,
Panama will achieved another victory in its efforts to combat
TIP. The Hubbard case is especially significant given the
high level of national and international attention. Members
of Judicial Police (PTJ) sex crimes unit informed PolOff,
NAS, and others that Hubbard claimed she had names of
prominent Panamanian who were her clients and would expose
them if she was sent to prison. It appears, for now, that
those were empty or unsubstantiated threats. While Embassy
has been pressing GOP for continued action combating TIP, the
recent positive developments should be fully credited to GOP
initiative.
WATT

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