Friday, August 24, 2007

Noriega va en France

“This court never intended for the proclamation of defendant as a P.O.W. to shield him from all future prosecutions for serious crimes he is alleged to have committed,” Judge William Hoeveler said in his 12-page ruling, sending Manuel Noriega to France. “That being said, even the most vile offender is entitled to the same protections as those owed to a law-abiding soldier once they have been declared a P.O.W. It appears that the extradition proceedings should proceed uninterrupted.”

The NY Times reports on the case here:

Mr. Noriega was convicted in absentia in France in 1999 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for laundering more than $3 million in drug proceeds. France has agreed to hold a new trial if Mr. Noriega is extradited.
Mr. Noriega also faces legal jeopardy at home in Panama, where he was convicted in absentia of embezzlement, corruption and murdering political opponents. Although Mr. Noriega faces up to 60 years in prison for those charges, Panamanian law allows older convicts to serve prison time at home and Mr. Noriega’s Panamanian lawyers have expressed confidence they can beat the charges there and keep him out of jail.
Mr. Hoeveler, who presided over Mr. Noriega’s criminal trial in Miami, ruled that Mr. Noriega’s status as a prisoner of war does not prevent him from future prosecution.


Mr. Noriega may still appeal the ruling, which will keep him in U.S. custody for some weeks or months. Frank Rubino, Mr. Noriega’s Miami-based attorney, said he was disappointed by the ruling and would decide in the next week whether to challenge it in the United States Court of Appeals 11th Circuit or with the United Nations.

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