Former Panama dictator Noriega dies at 83
Panama’s former dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega, who died here on Monday, was physically diminished after decades of imprisonment for crimes committed during his 1983-1989 rule.
Noriega, 83, died in Santo Tomas Hospital where he had been recovering from an early March surgery to remove a brain tumour, and a subsequent operation to clean up cerebral bleeding.
Noriega had been serving prison time for murder and f o r c e d d i s a p p e a rances during his dictatorship, and was being held in a prison cell overlooking the Panama Canal.
The ex-strongman had been granted temporary release on Jan 28 to undergo the medical procedure.
Following years of ill-health, Noriega’s family pleaded with authorities to let him serve the rest of his sentence under house ar- rest. But the government rejected their appeals.
Noriega was toppled in a December 1989 United States military invasion, a dramatic fall from power for a man who had risen through the ranks of Panama’s military while working for the Central Intelligence Agency.
After surrendering to US troops in Januar y 1990, he was flown to the US where he was convicted on drug trafficking and money l aundering c h a r g e s , a n d s e ntenced to prison.
In 2010, Noriega was sent to France, where he was convicted on money laundering charges.
The following year, Noriega was extradited to Panama, where he was locked up for the 1985 murder of a political opponent, the 1989 murder of a military officer who attempted a coup against him and for the massacre of soldiers rebelling against him.
Manuel Antonio Noriega