Lawyer: France to extradite Noriega to Panama

AP News
Posted: Aug 02, 2011 7:52 PM
Lawyer: France to extradite Noriega to Panama

French authorities have agreed to extradite former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega to his native Panama, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Yves Leberquier said French Prime Minister Francois Fillon signed the extradition on July 6 and that Noriega was notified last week.

It was not immediately clear when Noriega would be sent home.

A Panamanian official said his government has not been informed of a decision by France to extradite Noriega.

"We are not aware of (an extradition decision) nor why Mr. Noriega's lawyers would give such news," Panama's Foreign Relations Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs and Treaties Vladimir Franco told The Associated Press.

Franco said that once France informs Panama that it has approved Noriega's extradition, the Central American country would have to arrange for his transfer to a Panamanian prison. He said that could take one to three weeks.

Noriega was imprisoned in the United States for two decades after being deposed in a 1989 U.S. invasion. He was sent from Florida to France last year to face money laundering charges, where he was sentenced to 7 years in prison.

A Panamanian court has convicted Noriega _ military dictator from 1983 to 1989 _ in the death of a military commander. He faces 20 years in jail in the case.