12 December, 2011

CNN Breaking News

Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega arrived Sunday evening in his home country, nearly 22 years after U.S. forces forcibly removed him from office.

The 77-year old was expected to head straight to prison to serve time for crimes committed during his rule. He will be flown to and housed in an individual cell in El Renacer, a medium-security facility in Gamboa, the government said.

Noriega arrived at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City.

Noriega's extradition process began Sunday morning with a flight from Paris to Madrid. He was in Spanish police custody during a four-hour layover before leaving Madrid Sunday afternoon on a flight to Panama City, a spokesman for Spain's airport authority said.

Last month, a French court authorized his extradition to Panama, where officials want Noriega to face justice in the killings of Hugo Spadafora, his political opponent, and at least one other person. He was convicted in absentia.

Noriega has been in France since 2010, after two decades in an American prison, where he was convicted of drug trafficking and other crimes.

Last year, a French court sentenced Noriega to seven years in prison for laundering 2.3 million euros ($2.9 million) through banks there. He was ordered to pay the money back.

Noriega denied the charges.

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