Noriega Inspires Fight between Panama, France

Each country wants ex-dictator to serve jail time after US release
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2007 4:34 PM CDT
Noriega Inspires Fight between Panama, France
PANAMA. La Mesa. 1988. General Manual NORIEGA greets Panamanians at the opening of an electrical plant. (NYC21643)   (Magnum Photos)

Manuel Noriega will be released from a Miami prison in September, but where he'll go after that is up in the air. The US wants to transfer the deposed dictator—convicted of corruption, kidnapping, and murder—to France for more jail time. But some Panamanians want him in a local prison, the NY Times reports. American officials say Noriega’s return could derail Panama’s progress.

“Noriegistas” remain in the government, which is still controlled by the party Noriega ran before he was seized in 1990. The diminutive dictator says he has no plans to return to politics. In Panama he was convicted of, among other things, beheading a political rival; in France, drug money laundering. (Read more Manuel Noriega stories.)

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