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Ex-dictator Noriega extradited to Panama to finish sentence

Noriega has been extradited by France to face charges of embezzlement and murder in his home country.

PANAMA’S FORMER DICTATOR Manuel Noriega has returned to his home country to face a prison sentence for crimes carried out during his rule.

Noriega has already spent nearly two decades in jail, and faces further charges of embezzlement and murder in Panama after being extradited by France.

It has been suggested that 77-year-old Noriega may be able to serve his six sentences under house arrest – as this option is offered to anyone over 70 years of age. However, the Panamanian government has said Noriega will be held in “similar conditions” to other prisoners, at least to begin with, the Guardian reports.

The former general returned to a country much different from the one he left after surrendering to US forces on 3 January, 1990. The government, once a revolving cast of military strongmen, is now governed by its fourth democratically elected president.

This afternoon Noriega, who has served drug sentences in the United States and a money-laundering term in France, was whisked by helicopter to the El Renacer prison to serve out three 20-year sentences for the slayings of political opponents in the 1980s. An elevated platform was set up at the prison so journalists could watch him enter, giving Panamanians what likely was their only glimpse of the man who once ran the country like his private fiefdom.

Additional reporting by the AP

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