Manuel Noriega’s extradition approved by French court

Panama dictator forced out by US invasion over 20 years ago to serve out sentences for crimes including murder, Wednesday 23 November 2011 15.13 GMT

A French court has approved the extradition of Manuel Noriega to Panama, allowing the former dictator to return home for the first time since he was forced from the country during a US invasion more than 20 years ago.

The appeals court in Paris announced the decision on Wednesday after months of legal procedures.

Panama sought Noriega’s extradition so he could serve out sentences imposed after he was convicted in absentia there for murder, corruption and embezzlement. Noriega has spent the last two decades behind bars in Florida and France.

The French prime minister, François Fillon, now needs to sign an administrative decree allowing Noriega to be transferred, possibly within days.

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