French court refuses to free Panama's Noriega

15th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

A French appeal court on Wednesday refused to let Panama's former dictator Manuel Noriega out of jail while his country's extradition request is examined.

Noriega's lawyer had asked for "a little bit of humanity because he has been in jail for 25 years now" but the court rejected the appeal.

The 76-year-old general was convicted here in July of laundering drug money and given a seven-year sentence.

The Paris court also ordered the seizure of 2.3 million euros (2.8 million dollars) in frozen French bank accounts held in Noriega's name.

Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989, denied taking payments from Colombian drug lords in the 1980s and told the court he was the victim of a set-up orchestrated by his one-time ally, the United States.

He has already spent 20 years in a Miami prison for drug trafficking and money laundering and for years fought against being extradited to France.

Panama has asked France to hand him over to face trial in his home country for human rights violations.

© 2010 AFP

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