Noriega Fights Extradition Before Appeals Court

By: By CURT ANDERSON AP Legal Affairs Writer
By: By CURT ANDERSON AP Legal Affairs Writer

MIAMI (AP) - A panel of appeals judges is questioning whether former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega should be taken to France to face trial on money laundering charges.

Noriega's case was heard Wednesday in Miami by an 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel. Noriega claims that as a prisoner of war he should be returned to Panama now that he has finished his drug racketeering sentence in the U.S.

He was given prisoner-of-war status after his 1990 capture during a U.S. invasion of Panama. But France wants Noriega to face charges there.

The U.S. judges indicated that Congress in 2006 prohibited appeals like Noriega's. No immediate ruling was issued. Noriega has already lost before three previous federal judges.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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