A US judge has approved the extradition to France of the former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega. The 73-year-old is wanted in Paris on charges of money laundering. Noriega is due to be released from jail in Florida next month, after serving 17 years for drug smuggling and racketeering. Noriega’s lawyers had already said they would appeal any extradition ruling. They claim he has prisoner of war status and must be returned home when his sentence ends. Noriega was arrested by US authorities after the 1989 invasion of Panama.