Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

FOCUS

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

Read more

ENCORE!

Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday : The Best of the Bard

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

The Tour de France, a PR machine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the third plane crash in one week - from France, Algeria and Burkina Faso

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the plane crash that took 116 lives - almost half of them French

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

Americas

French court approves Noriega extradition

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-11-23

A Paris appeals court approved the extradition of former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega on Wednesday, who is serving time in France for money laundering. He has been convicted in absentia for corruption and murder in Panama.

AFP - A French appeals court ruled Wednesday that former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega could be extradited to his homeland to serve time for crimes committed during his iron-fisted rule in the 1980s.

Noriega, a former US ally who ruled Panama from 1983 until his overthrow in a US invasion in 1989, spent more than 20 years in a US jail before being extradited in 2010 to France where he was convicted of money laundering.

"The court acknowledges Manuel Antonio Noriega's consent to being handed over to the Panamanian authorities," the court said.

Wednesday's ruling comes after the United States agreed to a second Panamanian extradition request. US approval is required because US authorities sent Noriega to France in April 2010 while he was serving time in a Miami jail.

"I want to return to Panama without hatred or resentment," Noriega told the court in Spanish.

"I want to go back to Panama to prove my innocence in these procedures that were carried out in my absence and without legal assistance."

One of Noriega's lawyers said last week that the fallen leader should be home for Christmas and might not even go to prison because of the 77-year-old's alleged ill health.

A longtime intelligence chief who became the country's military ruler in 1983, Noriega spent 21 years in a Miami prison on drug charges after his overthrow, and then was extradited to France, where he was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of laundering money for the Medellin drug cartel.

Panama wants him extradited from France to serve three 20-year sentences for the murders of three opponents -- Hugo Spadafora, a doctor and former deputy health minister, in 1985; Captain Moises Giroldi in 1989; and union activist Heliodoro Portugal in 1970.

Panamanian authorities also want to judge Noriega -- nicknamed "pineapple face" for his pockmarked skin -- for other crimes committed during under his regime.

The court's decision must now in theory be followed by a decree signed by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, although a judicial source said Noriega could return to Panama immediately as Fillon already signed such an order for a first extradition request in July.

Noriega lawyer Olivier Metzner said the timing of the extradition now depends on the Panamanian authorities.

"All the technical problems have been resolved," Metzner told journalists outside the court. "Panama simply has to send police to the airport to take charge of Mr Noriega and take him away."

"If they want to do this very quickly, they can send a military plane tomorrow and as early as tomorrow evening he can be in Panama City."

Panama's consul in Paris, Aristides Gomez de Leon, said his country would do what was necessary to return Noriega to Panama.

"I think that he will be back before the end of December," he said.
 

Date created : 2011-11-23

  • PANAMA

    Panamanians balk at return of former dictator Noriega

    Read more

  • PANAMA

    France to extradite Noriega to Panama

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Paris court sentences ex-dictator Noriega to seven years in jail

    Read more

COMMENT(S)