Temas Especiales

23 de Jan de 2021


Noriega’s defense facing problems

PANAMA. Manuel Noriega’s prisoner of war status could stop being an impediment for his extradition to France.

PANAMA. Manuel Noriega’s prisoner of war status could stop being an impediment for his extradition to France.

On Wednesday, after Noriega’s defense presented arguments to keep “Panama’s former strongman” from being extradited to France, the panel of judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals (Eleventh Circuit) in Atlanta decided to postpone the defense’s petition, maintaining for the moment Noriega’s transfer to France.

Jonathan May and Frank Rubino, Noriega’s lawyers, asked for a seven day term to present new valid arguments, after judges Jane Restani, Ed Carnes and Joel James questioned whether Noriega falls under the protection of the Geneva Convention.

It was the Geneva Convention which allowed the U.S. to maintain the Panamanian general detained after the invasion of Panama.

According to the judges, however, a new law approved by Congress in 2006 limits the rights of enemy combatants detained in the Guantanamo Bay naval base to present habeas corpus in U.S. tribunals, including those related to criminal cases.

Restani said that the Convention does not apply to the arguments of Noriega, according to the 2006 law.

Jon May, one of Noriega’s lawyers, said he disagreed with the law’s interpretation, and reminded the tribunal that the rights established in the Convention must be respected.

Similarly, Noriega’s defense denounced an alleged torture to which Noriega was submitted to after his detention in 1989.

In Panama, Julio Berrios, Noriega’s lawyer, said that the former general does not want to go to France and “is willing to face all the charges for which he is accused, but here in Panama.”

With regards to the alleged torture, Berrios stated that he had no knowledge of it, but knowing Noriega, he would not make such an accusation without basis.

“I would not discard this possibility, United States is the country that most violates human rights? we only need ask a prisoner in Guantanamo or in Iraq.”

Mario Rognoni, a close friend of Noriega, stated that the Panamanian government has shown little interest on Noriega’s extradition to Panama.

“I think it is absurd that a third country’s conviction is prioritized, and that (he) won’t come to serve a term inn the country where he caused the most damage,” he said.