Noriega Has Brain Tumor, Shouldn't Be Jailed: Lawyers

He has heart problems, depression, too
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2012 12:20 AM CDT
Panama's former strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega is seen with his inmate number at El Renacer prison in Panama City.   (AP Photo/Panama Justice Ministry)

(Newser) – Manuel Noriega's lawyers are trying to get him out of prison just four months after the former Panamanian dictator was transferred back to his homeland to serve a 20-year sentence for the murders of two political opponents. They say Noriega—who spent the last 20 years in American and French prisons for drug trafficking and money laundering—suffers health problems including heart trouble, depression, and a benign brain tumor, and that he should be moved either to a hospital or to house arrest.

"His health is getting worse, but our request to keep him in a hospital has been delayed," one of his lawyers tells Reuters, saying Noriega's health has been rapidly getting worse because of poor treatment in prison for flu and fever. Noriega, 78, was returned to prison yesterday after what authorities said was a routine checkup. The chief of Panama's penitentiary system says Noriega is not dying or in critical condition, and will be staying behind bars for now.

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