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Panama's Noriega back home behind bars.

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Panama's Noriega back home behind bars.


The former military leader of Panama, Manuel Noriega has been taken straight to jail following his extradition from France to the country he once ruled.

Having been removed from office by the US invasion of 1989, Noriega has spent most of the last 20 years in American and French custody for drug trafficking and money laundering.

Now he is back in prison awaiting trial for the murders of opponents during his rule.

Panama’s Interior Minister Roxana Menedez, welcomed his return: “We’re finally able to initiate a process that we, victims of the dictatorship have been waiting a long time for. Our judicial system will ensure Noriega answers for crimes committed.”

At 77, Noriega qualifies for house arrest due to his age. But such a decision would imply an acceptance of his sentence in absentia, which would mean he forgoes the right to launch a legal challenge.

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