By Ria Novosti
Former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega has received final medical clearance to be extradited to Panama from France, where he is serving out a prison sentence for murder and money laundering.
“French officials will transfer Noriega into the custody of Panamanian law enforcement officials at Orly Airport in Paris at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday,” Noriega’s lawyer Julio Berrios told Agence France-Presse.
The 77-year-old Noriega, who led Panama as “Maximum Leader of National Liberation” from 1983 until 1989, was captured by U.S. forces following the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1988. Taken to Florida as a prisoner of war, he was tried and convicted on drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering charges.
Noriega was extradited to France in 2010 to serve time for orchestrating the grisly murder of Hugo Spadafora, a vocal critic who was abducted and killed in 1985 while Noriega was in France. An autopsy of Spadafora’s body indicated he had been slowly decapitated while still alive.
Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli has said Noriega will be taken to prison immediately upon his arrival from France. However, under Panamanian law, the ex-dictator can file an appeal for house arrest since he is over 70 years old.