Monday, June 20, 2011

No, He Didn't Vanish After Bush 41 Left Office

Sorry for nothing yesterday; was working on a larger piece I'm going to try and farm out first before I put it here.

Today, France is moving to extradite Manuel Noriega to Panama. For those of you for whom this falls into the category of 'wait, he was in France?': yes, he was. He had spent 20 years in prison in Florida for drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering. In 1999, though, France tried and convicted Noriega in absentia for the money laundering. Last year, he was sent to France to begin serving the seven-year sentence handed down there.

Now, though, he faces being sent back to Panama to face charges surrounding the murder of his political opponents, after the United States offered consent for said extradition; France needed permission as Noriega's French sentence has no yet been served. Noriega, currently age 77, has the right to try to fight it; he'll have one month to start that process should he choose to do so. However, his lawyers have stated that Noriega won't stand in the way.

Panama has also tried Noriega in absentia; he stands convicted there of three counts of human rights violations. Each carries a 20-year sentence. The Latin American Herald Tribune also reports conviction on one count of corruption and one count of embezzlement.

Meanwhile, while Panama would love to have Noriega back, they would also love to be able to offload his old mansion. Two attempts to sell it at a $2.5 million asking price at auction have failed for lack of interest. The government is bound to try one more auction by Panamanian law, and if that fails too, they can drop the price by half and sell it directly.

Although to be fair to Noriega, it may not necessarily be all his fault that the place won't sell. It could also partly be the condition of the mansion itself, left to the weeds ever since Noriega's arrest. Anthony Bourdain, conduct the tour...

No comments: