Panama maintains extradition request for Noriega

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Panama said Wednesday it is still seeking the extradition of former dictator Manuel Noriega, who was jailed for seven years by a French court, so that he can serve prison time in his home country.

"The national government maintains its position that... Noriega must comply with sentences handed down by Panamanian judicial authorities, and face charges pending in Panama, so it continues to push for extradition," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

In France earlier Wednesday, the 76-year-old general was jailed for seven more years on charges of laundering drug money during the 1980s.

He has been languishing in a US prison ever since he was deposed by US troops that invaded Panama in December 1989.

Noriega has three convictions for human rights violations in Panama, each carrying a 20-year prison sentence.

The Panamanian former strongman ruled the country from 1981 to 1989, when then-US president George H.W. Bush sent troops to topple his regime.

Noriega served his time in a Miami prison until being sent in April to France to face the money-laundering charges.

© 2010 AFP

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