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Panama's Noriega Extradited From U.S. To France


File photos of Panamanian General Manuel Noriega in and out of power in October 1989 and January 1990 (left to right)

File photos of Panamanian General Manuel Noriega in and out of power in October 1989 and January 1990 (left to right)

Former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega has been sent to France following an extradition order from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Noriega has been in U.S. jails for 17 years on drug charges and was set for release in September.

Televised images showed him being led off the tarmac by French authorities in Paris.

Lawyers for Noriega have expressed anger at the U.S. administration's perceived failure to sufficiently inform them of the extradition plans.

A French court tried Noriega in absentia in 1999 on money-laundering charges and sentenced him to 10 years in prison, but French authorities said Noriega would get a new trial if he were extradited. They have also suggested he could face additional charges.

Panama has also requested U.S. authorities to return Noriega to his native country so he can face charges in the murders of political opponents during his 1983-89 rule.

The U.S. military invaded Panama in 1989 to arrest Noriega for allegedly protecting drug lords to smuggle contraband through his country into the United States. He was convicted three years later.

compiled from agency reports
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