[JURIST] Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] Monday asked the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to block his extradition to France, arguing in court filings that extradition would violate his prisoner of war (POW) status. Noriega will remain in a US federal prison [JURIST report] until all appeals relating to the extradition request have been exhausted. Ultimately, the US State Department will issue the final order on France's extradition request.
Noriega is wanted in France on charges of money laundering through French banks. Noriega and his wife were sentenced in absentia [AP report] to 10 years in jail in 1999, but France has agreed to hold a new trial if he is extradited. Noriega has made multiple attempts to block his extradition; in addition to a January ruling [JURIST report] by US District Court Judge Paul Huck, another federal judge in September 2007 rejected [JURIST report] Noriega's arguments to block extradition. Noriega's lawyers argue that France's request was superseded by his status as a US POW and that under the Geneva Conventions the US must return him home to Panama upon his release. The US State Department has indicated that it is satisfied that France will treat Noriega as a POW [JURIST report] if Noriega is extradited to that country. AP has more.