Manuel Noriega to Return to Panama

Manuel Noriega to Return to Panama

By SONJA DECHIAN | Published: NOVEMBER 24, 2011

A French court has approved the extradition of former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega this week, after serving 20 years in French and American prisons.

Panamanian courts have convicted Noriega in absentia on charges of murder and corruption. He faces two 20-year terms in Panama, for crimes including the 1985 murder of Hugo Spadafora, an outspoken critic of the military in Panama.

‘I want to return to Panama and prove my innocence,’ Noriega said.

Human rights groups have long campaigned for the dictator’s return, but some victims have expressed concerns his extradition may reopen old wounds. ‘The country will be divided again,’ said Carmen Spadafora, sister of Hugo Spadafora. ‘This will stir things up.’

Panama’s president, Ricardo Martinelli, has vowed Noreiga will serve time in prison and ‘pay for all the crimes against humanity.’

The Panama Truth Commission documented the death or disappearance of 110 victims under the regime led by Omar Torrijos and then by Noriega until 1989.

A date for the extradition has not yet been set.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *