France to extradite Noriega to Panama: lawyers

22nd June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega will be extradited to Panama, his daughter said Tuesday, quoting Noriega's lawyers.

Sandra Noriega said her father's lawyers had been formally notified by the French authorities that France had agreed to Panama's extradition demands.

"But we don't know anything else," she said in a text message sent to AFP.

France announced on Monday that it planned to launch extradition proceedings to send Noriega back home to Panama to face justice.

A Paris court jailed Noriega, 77, last July after he was extradited from the United States.

Panama said Sunday that the United States had given its approval for Noriega to be extradited again back to Panama. Washington's consent was required under existing treaties since he has not yet served his full term.

"The government is preparing to make an extradition decree" to be served on Noriega, who will then have a month to appeal it in the French courts, foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told a news conference on Monday.

Meanwhile, relatives of victims of Noriega criticized a Panamanian decision to keep Noriega in a special cell once he arrives.

"It's an insult that this man will be given a luxury jail cell," Carmenza Spadafora, whose brother was kidnapped and beheaded in 1985, told AFP.

"Noriega must be in a normal cell because all Panamanians should be equal," Mauro Zuniga, who was kidnapped and tortured by the military in August 1984, also told AFP.

Following his conviction in France last year Noriega is serving a seven-year jail term for laundering drug money through French banks in the 1980s. He had served 20 years in a US jail in Miami before being extradited to France.

He has three convictions for human rights violations in Panama, dating to his largely "behind the scenes" military rule there from 1983 to 1989. Each conviction carries a 20-year prison sentence.

© 2011 AFP

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