Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Israel identifies ‘missing’ soldier in Gaza

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

  • Ukraine football players refuse to return home after friendly in France

    Read more

  • China steps up communist education to guard against ‘moral decline’

    Read more

  • French rugby stars attacked with machetes and swords

    Read more

Americas

US extradites Panama's Noriega to France

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-04-27

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has signed an order for Panama's former leader Manuel Noriega to be extradited to France, where he is wanted on money-laundering charges.

AFP - The United States extradited former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega to France Monday to face money-laundering charges after years of legal wrangling, US and French officials said.
   
Noriega was placed on board an Air France jet, escorted by French prison officials, shortly after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed an extradition order in Washington, officials said.
   
The plane departed for Charles De Gaulle airport at 5:46 pm (2146 GMT).
   
The flight ended a long legal battle by Noriega, 74, to stave off extradition to France where he faces charges of money-laundering after spending two decades in US custody following his 1989 overthrow in a US invasion.
   
But even before Noriega had arrived in France, the legal wrangling resumed with Panama saying it would continue to press for his extradition there and Noriega's French lawyer vowing to challenge the jurisdiction of French courts.
   
Sandra Noriega, the former general's daughter, said the move violated her father's rights as a prisoner of war, a status conferred on him by the United States after his capture in 1990.
   
"This outlandish move is yet another violation of human rights and the rights under the Geneva Convention that protects prisoners of war," she told  RPC radio in Panama City.
   
Noriega's lawyer, Frank Rubino, complained in Miami that he had not been informed of the action.
   
"Neither the State Department or the Justice Department has the courtesy to call me and tell me that the order was signed or if general Noriega has been taking away," he told AFP.
   
A State Department spokesman announced the extradition after US television networks showed video of what they said was Noriega being led from a van into the Miami International Airport.
   
"Now that all judicial challenges to Noriega’s extradition have been resolved, the secretary of state issued a surrender warrant for his extradition to France," said Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman.
   
In Paris, a spokesman for the French Justice ministry said the extradition was under way.
   
"France had been notified of this extradition two weeks ago," said spokesman Guillaume Didier, in confirming that Clinton had signed the extradition order.
   
Officials from France's penitentiary administration took custody of Noriega in Miami, sources in Paris said.
   
The US Supreme Court threw out a bid in March by Noriega to halt his extradition to France, closing the last legal avenue for the former military strongman to escape French justice.
   
France sentenced him in absentia in 1999 to ten years in prison but now wants to try him on money-laundering charges.
   
In Paris, a lawyer for Noriega said he would challenge the French court's jurisdiction over Noriega, on grounds that he enjoys immunity as a former head of state and that the statute of limitations had run out on the charges against the former general.
   
Trying Noriega in France "presents difficulties that we believe are insurmountable," said Yves Leberquier.
   
Meanwhile, Panama's Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Varela said his government respected the US decision.
   
But he said "that does not mean Panama won't insist on pursuing diplomatic and legal channels to return Mr Noriega to his country to face the sentences imposed by Panamanian courts."
   
Noriega has three convictions for human rights violations in Panama, however, each carrying a 20-year prison sentence.
   
Once a prized CIA asset, Noriega rose to power in Panama as a military intelligence chief close to General Omar Torrijos, a left-leaning military strongman.
   
After Torrijos' death in a mysterious 1981 plane crash, Noriega consolidated his power, ultimately becoming the head of the military and the country's most feared man.
   
By then his close relations with the United States had soured amid reports he had become deeply involved in drug trafficking, and suspicions he was two-timing the CIA with the Cubans.
   
Escalating internal repression sent tensions soaring, culminating in the  1989 US invasion dubbed Operation Just Cause, which ended in Noriega's capture and removal to the United States as a prisoner of war.
   
He later was tried in Florida on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering and served a 17-year prison sentence, which he completed in 2007. Since then, he had remained in US custody while fighting extradition requests by France.

Date created : 2010-04-27

  • PANAMA - FRANCE

    US Supreme Court rejects Noriega extradition appeal

    Read more

COMMENT(S)