Thursday, January 10, 2008

Judge Huck denies Noriega's request to block extradition

Vanessa Blum has the details here:

Miami federal judge signed off on U.S. plans Wednesday to send former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega to France to face money-laundering charges, finding the French government has given sufficient assurances it would continue to treat Noriega as a prisoner of war under the Geneva Conventions.The ruling from U.S. District Judge Paul Huck, which followed three earlier court decisions approving the planned extradition, addressed concerns raised by Noriega's attorneys over France's refusal to formally designate Noriega a prisoner of war."Without that status of being declared a prisoner of war, there is no guarantee he will continue to receive those benefits," said Jon May, one of Noriega's attorneys.
Huck disagreed, saying he was satisfied with France's commitment to treat Noriega, 73, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions."What more could Noriega ask for or be entitled to?" Huck asked. "It's the benefits. It's not the nicety that he's called a prisoner of war."

More from the AP:

The ruling clears the way for Noriega's lawyers to appeal his extradition to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. U.S. lawyers say Noriega's extradition will not take place until the legal process is concluded.
"It is on hold," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Cronin.

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