Former Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega could soon be on his way back to Panama to face murder charges.
The French Court of Appeal will hold a hearing on Wednesday (Dec. 15) to decide on his release from a Paris prison and whether to extradite him to Panama to face murder charges.
If there is a quick decision he could be heading for a Panama jail by Christmas, putting the hot potato of his future in the hands of the Panamanian court system. He is in his late seventies, and his lawyers will fight to keep him out of jail.
Noriega was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in France for laundering drug money. He has already served half of the sentence.
Panama presented a petition for Noriega’s extradition in June to face prosecution for multiple murders and disappearances of political opponents.
The former dictator was sentenced to spend 20 years in prison in 1993 for the beheading of doctor Hugo Spadafora.
He has two other pending sentences for murder charges, one for the murder of Moses Giroldi and the other for the brutal killing and torture of a group of army mutineers at the “Massacre of Albrook.”
Noriega was taken to France from the United States, after completing a 20 years sentence for drug trafficking and over two years of court battles to avoid the move.