Judge to take up Noriega's extradition to France

28th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

MIAMI, Aug 28, 2007 (AFP) - A federal judge on Tuesday will take up a US request to have former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega extradited to France after his September 9 release from a Miami jail, where he spent 17 years.

MIAMI, Aug 28, 2007 (AFP) - A federal judge on Tuesday will take up a US request to have former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega extradited to France after his September 9 release from a Miami jail, where he spent 17 years.

Noriega will appear at a hearing before judge William Turnoff. His lawyers are expected to argue that Noriega should be sent to Panama, instead of France.

Both countries have convicted the former president in absentia for crimes committed during his rule 1983-1989, and have filed extradition requests -- Panama in 1991, France in 1999.

Washington has formally requested that Noriega be extradited to France.

Noriega, 72, was was captured in January 1990 by a UN invasion ordered by then US President George H.W. Bush, the father of the current US president.

Judge William's ruling on the US extradition request follows another federal judge's rejection on Friday of a motion by Noriega's lawyers that their client, as a prisoner of war, came under the protection of the Geneva Conventions and should be repatriated to Panama on his release.

If the US government's extradition request is accepted, the former Panamanian leader would be taken from jail directly to France to serve a 10-year sentence for money laundering.

In Panama, Noriega has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the disappearance and murder of opposition members.

Noriega had worked with the US Central Intelligence Agency for years but eventually fell out of favor with Washington amid claims he was involved in drug trafficking.

In 1992, Noriega was sentenced to 40 years in prison for drug trafficking, but the penalty was later reduced to 30 years, and was then shortened again for good behavior.

AFP

Subject: French news

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