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Friday, February 22 2019 @ 06:00 AM UTC

Panama's Supreme Court Rejects Appeal Filed By Manuel Antonio Noriega

Panama NewsPanama's Supreme Court of Justice rejected a request filed by lawyers representing the former military dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega, seeking to annul an earlier decision to bring him to trial for the 1970 murder of opposition leader Heliodoro Portugal.

Noriega's lawyer Ezra Angel said today the Supreme Court "did not admit" the request, in a decision made last January, released this week.

Angel said he filed the request in June 2013 after Noriega was notified he was being called to trial for Portugal's murder by the Second Superior Tribunal.

According to Noriega's lawyer, he was extradited from France to Panama in December 2011 for the murders of Hugo Spadafora (1985) and Moses Giroldi (1989), and that he can only be prosecuted for those cases.

"According to international law and to the principal of specialty (under which he was extradited), Noriega can not be tried or prosecuted for any offense other than these" for which he was extradited, he said.

He added when Panama made the first request for Noriega to be extradited from France to Panama for Portugal's murder, which occurred in May 1970, it was rejected by the French authorities, so therefore "specifically the Portugal case should not be prosecuted," he said.

According to media sources, the decision of the reporting judge Jerónimo Mejía "rejected" the request because "other resources available under the law were not exhausted," and also because "the prescription of criminal action must be raised through an incident to be discussed at the trial."

About the two other cases against Noriega in the Superior Court of Chiriqui, on the death of Everett Clayton Kimble and Luis Quiroz Morales, between 1968 and 1969, Angel said the former general has not been brought to trial.

Noriega, 80, is being held in the El Renacer prison, outside Panama City, where he is serving sentences totaling 60 years for crimes ranging from murder to environmental damage.

The former "strongman" who ruled de facto Panama between 1983 and 1989 arrived in Panama after having been extradited from France, where he was serving seven years of a conviction for money laundering.

Before that, he spent nearly two decades in prison in the United States for drug trafficking. Noriega surrendered to US troops in January 1990, days after a US invasion of Panama. (Critica)

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