US seeks to extradite Noriega to France

18th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

MIAMI, July 18, 2007 (AFP) - US prosecutors on Tuesday filed a request to have former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega extradited to France when he is released in September from a Miami prison where he is serving a drug trafficking sentence.

MIAMI, July 18, 2007 (AFP) - US prosecutors on Tuesday filed a request to have former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega extradited to France when he is released in September from a Miami prison where he is serving a drug trafficking sentence.

Noriega was captured during the US invasion of Panama in 1989 and taken to the United States. That same year a French court sentenced him in absentia to 10 years in jail for money laundering.

His Miami lawyer said he would vigorously fight the extradition request.

"We're going to do everything humanly possible to prevent it from happening," attorney Anthony Rubino told AFP.

Rubino insists his client is a prisoner of war since he was captured during a military occupation of his country and that the Geneva Conventions dictate he must be repatriated immediately upon completion of his sentence.

"If France wants him extradited they should put the request to Panama," Rubino said.

In 1992, a US court in Miami sentenced Noriega to 40 years in prison, but the penalty was later reduced to 30 years, and was later shortened again for good behavior. He is expected to be released on September 9.

He is also wanted in Panama, where he was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the disappearance and murder of opposition members.

Noriega ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989, when he was captured in an invasion ordered by then president US President George H.W. Bush.

Noriega had worked with the CIA for years but eventually fell out of favor with Washington amid claims he was involved in narcotics trafficking.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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