Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Video: Far right at the gates of power in Austria

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE 24 turns 10: A look behind the scenes

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Gambia's Yahya Jammeh concedes defeat in presidential polls

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Gambians herald 'new independence' after Jammeh defeat

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Hollande, the One Term President (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Trump Keeps 'Em Guessing, Italian Referendum, Austrian Election, Castro's Death (part 2)

Read more

FASHION

Discovering the winter 2016/2017 men's fashion collections in Paris

Read more

ENCORE!

Rendez-vous on '42nd Street' as the meta musical comes to Paris

Read more

REPORTERS

Uzbekistan reinforces its tight grip on election and country

Read more

Americas

US Supreme Court rejects Noriega extradition appeal

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-01-26

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, clearing the way on Monday for him to be extradited to France, where he is wanted for money laundering.

AFP - The US Supreme Court Monday refused to take up an appeal from Panamanian former dictator Manuel Noriega asking it to block his extradition to France where he is wanted on money laundering charges.
   
In July, Noriega, 75, filed a petition with the US Supreme Court to block his extradition to France, where he has been sentenced in his absence to 10 years in jail.
   
The former army general held sway in Panama from 1984 until he surrendered on January 3, 1990 to US troops who had invaded the country three weeks earlier.
   
Noriega completed a 17-year US prison term on drug charges in 2008, but has remained in US custody in a Florida prison pending the appeal against extradition.
   
Federal judges have given the green light for Noriega to be extradited to France, and have refused his request to return to Panama. An appeals court subsequently upheld the extradition order.
   
Noriega's lawyer Julio Berros told AFP in Panama City that the US high court's ruling was "a political, not a judicial decision," and urged Washington to demand that France respect Noriega's "prisoner of war status."
   
Otherwise, he added, Noriega "should be sent to Panama" -- where he is charged with kidnapping and murdering opposition members.
   
The United States granted Noriega prisoner of war status when he was apprehended. His lawyers argued before the Supreme Court that as a prisoner of war, Noriega should be returned to Panama, not France. They lost.
   
Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli was indifferent as to Noriega's final destination: "It doesn't matter where they extradite him, either France or Panama; he must serve his sentence."
   
While the Supreme Court deliberated on his case, Noriega wrote French President Nicolas Sarkozy asking for his pardon.
   
In his September letter sent through his lawyer, Noriega argued that the French charges against him were identical to the ones he was convicted for in the United States.
   
The answer from Paris was unambiguous: "You can't pardon somebody who hasn't been convicted," said a French Justice Ministry spokesman.

Date created : 2010-01-26

COMMENT(S)