Federal judge lifts Noriega extradition stay

Federal judge lifts Noriega extradition stay

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida [official website] on Wednesday lifted the stay [order, PDF] blocking the extradition of former Panamanian military leader Manuel Noriega [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] to France, where he is wanted on money laundering charges. This latest order comes two days after the US Supreme Court declined to reconsider [JURIST report] Noriega's petition to stop the extradition process. His lawyers filed the petition last month after the Supreme Court denied certiorari [JURIST reports] on the case in January. Noriega, who has been declared a prisoner of war, sought to enforce a provision of the Geneva Convention [ICRC backgrounder] that requires repatriation at the end of confinement.

Noriega has been fighting extradition [JURIST report] since 2007. He is wanted in France on charges of money laundering through French banks. Noriega and his wife were sentenced in absentia [Reuters report] to 10 years in jail in 1999, but France has agreed to hold a new trial if he is extradited.