France Sending Noriega Back To Panama

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PARIS, Aug. 3 (UPI) — France is extraditing former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega to his homeland, the government said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon’s office told Radio France Internationale the decree authorizing extradition was signed July 6, his office confirmed Wednesday.

Noriega’s lawyer, Yves Leberquier, said he would not contest the move since it would bring his client closer to his family. A court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 8, Leberquier said.

Noriega ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989, when he was overthrown by a U.S. invasion. He was imprisoned in Miami for 20 years on drug trafficking charges and sent to France last year, where he was convicted of money laundering.

Panama has convicted him in absentia of murder and human rights violations.

A Panamanian prison has prepared a special cell for the 77-year-old Noriega, who has difficulty walking.

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