Manuel Noriega Extradited to France

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Manuel Noriega, Panama's military dictator from 1983 to 1989, was extradited from the U.S. to France today to stand trial for money laundering charges.

The BBC reports that Noriega is charged with laundering $3 million in drug proceeds to purchase high-end apartments in Paris. In 1999, French courts convicted Noriega in absentia of the laundering charges and sentenced him to ten years in prison. France said it would give him a new trial if he was extradited.

While dictator of Panama, Noriega was supported by the United States up until 1989 when he was ousted in a U.S.-led invasion. In 1992, Noriega was charged with drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering in Miami, Florida, and he's been serving time behind bars there since his sentencing.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton authorized a transfer to France after a federal judge lifted a stay blocking his extradition last month. Manuel Noriega's attorneys say that transfer was unlawful. Noriega was expected to be released from the Miami, Florida court soon due to good behavior.

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