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French court jails Noriega for seven years

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French court jails Noriega for seven years

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A French court has jailed Panama’s former dictator Manuel Noriega for seven years on charges of laundering drug money.

The prosecution said Noriega used drug profits to buy three luxury apartments in Paris. His bank accounts, containing over two million euros, have also been frozen.

Olivier Metzner, Noriega’s lawyer, said: “It is a decision with a political connotation, a position which pleases the American authorities.”

He claimed it was a “judgement which does not have much meaning” and pointed to the 17 years his client had already spent in jail in Florida for drug trafficking.

Noriega was released in 2007 after serving his US sentence.

He spent three years in custody unsuccessfully fighting extradition to France – time which his defence want knocked off his latest term.

Noriega rose to the top of Panama’s miltary to seize control of the country in 1983. His dictatorship lasted six years before the US ousted him. He once worked closely with the CIA before joining forces with drug traffickers.