Retired Zionsville doctor detained in Panama


A retired doctor from Zionsville has been detained in Panama.

Alan Handt

Alan Handt, 79, was detained in the western city of Boquete, where he has owned a medical mission for more than a decade.

According to Newsroom Panama, the National Police detained Handt Feb. 23. A spokeswoman at the U.S. Embassy in Panama confirmed that Handt was detained in relation to articles 50 and 63 of Panama’s migration law. Article 50 outlines requirements for emigrating or leaving the country temporarily, and article 63 states that the ministry of the interior may agree to expel a foreigner whose presence is contrary to national interests. The spokeswoman did not have information on the specifics of why Handt was detained.

Officials from Immigration and Custom Enforcement could not provide any additional details. A spokesman with the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana said charges were not pending from that office.

Handt formerly was a senior vice president of medical and academic affairs at St. Vincent hospital, leaving there in 1996.

Handt’s mission is the beneficiary of proceeds from Mission Coffee, a company often found at Carmel farmers markets and owned by Peter Beering.

Beering said he does not know why Handt has been detained. He said he suspects that former mission volunteers involved in a dispute with Handt “stirred this whole thing up” and that Handt will be released soon.

“The U.S. officials in this current political climate are erring on the side of safety,” he said.