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France to extradite Noriega in September

Reuters/Alberto Lowe/Files
2 min

Paris will extradite former Panamanian president Manuel Noriega, although his lawyer says that he may not be sent back to Panama for another month. Prime Minister François Fillon signed a decree authorising extradition on 6 July, his office confirmed Wednesday.

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Noriega was informed of the move on Monday but does not intend to appeal the decision because the extradition would allow him to be near his family, his lawyer, Yves Leberquier said Tuesday.

The extradition cannot go ahead until a judge has authorised it.

A hearing in a Paris court is scheduled for 8 September, according to Leberquier, who pointed out that his client would have been released on parole on that date if the order had not been signed.

Panamanian prison officials say they have prepared a special cell for Noriega, taking into account the problems he now has walking.

He is expected to go straight to jail to serve sentences arising from three convictions for human rights violations, including the death of a military commander, dating to his military rule from 1983 to 1989.

He was ousted by an American military operation, prompted by a rift with Noriega after Washington concluded that he had betrayed his previously close relations with the CIA.

Each conviction carries a 20-year prison sentence.

Noriega was sentenced by a Paris court in July last year to seven years in jail for laundering the equivalent of 2.3 million euros from the Medellin drug cartel through French banks.

The drug money transited through the now-defunct Bank of Credit and Commerce International in the late 1980s and was used by Noriega's wife and a shell company to buy three luxury apartments in Paris.
 

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