MIAMI — A U.S. judge on Wednesday upheld a lower court’s decision that former Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega’s status as a prisoner of war does not prevent him from being extradited to France to face money-laundering charges.
U.S. District Judge Paul Huck rejected a second appeal by Noriega and said France had provided sufficient guarantees that the general will be treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, even if he is not granted POW status.
Noriega’s defense team is now expected to appeal his extradition to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia.
In a hearing that lasted about an hour, Huck said he agreed with the decision handed down by Senior U.S. District Judge William Hoeveler, who in September found that the protections awarded to Noriega as a POW under the Geneva Conventions do not shield him from extradition to France.
Hoeveler ruled in 1992 that Noriega had POW status by virtue of his having been captured in the wake of the December 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama.