Noriega was “very disappointed, very displeased” about the verdict.

Talking about a blast from the past… I remember when the uproar from the liberal left was about how it was illegal to have captured Noriega and bring him to trial in the US. Now I guess they will be in a uproar because we are going to extradite him instead of send him back to Panama, you know because the is prisoner of war he should be exempt from facing criminal charges by France…

Manuel Noriega to be extradited to France to be sentenced for an absentia conviction of money laundering in 1999.

Noriega fails to stop extradition

Manuel Noriega

Noriega is wanted in Panama for the murder of a political opponent

A US judge has refused to block the extradition of ex-Panama leader Manuel Noriega to France, where he faces 10 years in prison for money laundering.A federal judge rejected arguments by Noriega’s lawyers that his status as a US prisoner of war negated the request.

Noriega, 72, is due in September to end a 1992 prison term for drug-trafficking and racketeering in Miami.

His lawyer Frank Rubino said Noriega was “very disappointed, very displeased” about the verdict.

Mr Rubino said: “He was hoping that the judge would have done the right thing and sent him back to Panama, his home country, and he’s completely disappointed.”

Noriega was made a US prisoner-of-war after his arrest during the US invasion of Panama more than 17 years ago.

He is due to appear before US magistrate William Turnoff on Tuesday when the French request for extradition is expected to progress.

In a 12-page decision, Judge William Hoeveler said Noriega’s status was not meant “to shield him from all future prosecutions for serious crimes he is alleged to have committed”.

The French authorities want his extradition so that he can serve out a sentence on a 1999 money-laundering conviction obtained in absentia.

But Panamanian President Martin Torrijos has said he would like the former military leader returned to Panama to serve a sentence for the murder of a government opponent.

Stalwart supporter

Manuel Noriega was once one of Washington’s top allies in Latin America, with close ties to former presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush Senior.

The Panamanian military ruler was seen as a stalwart supporter in the fight against communism and drug-trafficking in the region.

However, in 1988 a Florida court charged Noriega with helping Colombian drug-traffickers smuggle tons of cocaine into the US, and the White House went on to accuse the Panamanian leader of election-rigging and violating human rights.

In 1989, more than 20,000 US troops invaded Panama, ousting and detaining Noriega, who was replaced by Guillermo Endara.

Among arguments used by President Bush to justify the invasion were alleged threats to the lives of US citizens in Panama and the neutrality of the Panama Canal, as well as need to combat the drugs trade.

At least 200 Panamanian civilians were killed as US troops battled Noriega’s security forces in an invasion condemned by the Organization of American States. Some researchers have said the overall number of Panamanian deaths numbered several thousand.

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2 Responses

  1. That’s funny, I thought “the uproar from the liberal left” was about how the U.S. illegally supported Noriega, and sent him loads of cash to kill his own people.

  2. Sam, you are right, their first uproar was over the US support of Noriega, but it was prior to him killing his own people, moving large quantities of drugs and going after US citizens in Panama, it was when the US was supporting him because he was anti-communism. When Noriega started to kill his own people, move vast amounts of drugs and went after US citizens, that is when the liberal left got quiet. When conservative powers put a stop to it and went after Noriega, then the liberal left blew up again.

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