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Noriega can be extradited to France: US judge

[JURIST] A US magistrate judge for the Southern District of Florida [official website] issued a ruling Tuesday recommending that the US Department of State [official website] extradite former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega [BBC backgrounder] to France when he is released from federal prison [JURIST report; Federal Bureau of Prisons materials] on September 9, 2007. Noriega is charged in France with laundering money through French banks. In a related ruling last Friday, another US judge refused to reject the French extradition request [JURIST report] and denied [order, PDF] Noriega's petition for writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, and prohibition filed in July [JURIST report]. The court specifically rejected Noriega's claims that France's extradition request was superseded by his status as a US prisoner of war and that under the Geneva Conventions the US must return him home to Panama upon his release.

Noriega and his wife were sentenced in absentia [Reuters report] to 10 years in jail in 1999, but France has reportedly agreed to hold a new trial if he is extradited. AP has more.

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