Noriega still holds French Legion of Honour

30th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 30, 2007 (AFP) - Former Panamanian dictator General Manuel Noriega, who stands to be extradited to France to face 10 years in jail for money laundering, still holds the French Legion of Honour, officials said on Wednesday.

PARIS, Aug 30, 2007 (AFP) - Former Panamanian dictator General Manuel Noriega, who stands to be extradited to France to face 10 years in jail for money laundering, still holds the French Legion of Honour, officials said on Wednesday.

Noriega has been a Commander of the Legion of Honour since January 22, 1987, when he was awarded the title by Jacques Chirac, then prime minister, during a state visit to Paris, a spokesman for the order said.

The spokesman said the honour -- France's highest distinction -- was given as part of normal "diplomatic relations" between heads of state.

The 73-year-old Noriega still holds it despite his conviction by a French court in 1999 on charges of money laundering.

According to French author Bertrand Galimard Flavigny, an expert on the Legion of Honour, foreigners are exempt from the rules that allow French nationals to be stripped of their award in the event of a criminal conviction.

Noriega, who was arrested in a US invasion of Panama in January 1990, will be released from a Florida jail on September 9 after serving 17 years for drug trafficking.

A US judge on Tuesday approved a government request to have Noriega extradited to France after the end of his sentence.

Panama had also been seeking Noriega's extradition to face 40 years prison time for murder, human rights abuses and corruption committed during his 1983-1989 rule.

AFP

Subject: French news

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