Eleventh-hour appeals of his extradition to France kept former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega in his Miami prison cell yesterday, his scheduled release date. The dictator was set to face French money-laundering charges, but his lawyers argued that the Geneva Convention prevents his extradition because Paris doesn't recognize his prisoner-of-war status.
Noriega, 73, spent 17 years as a US prisoner on drug trafficking charges after he was captured in the American invasion of Panama in 1990. He was convicted in absentia on the French charges and sentenced to 10 years, but AFP reports that he is expected to be given a new trial. He's also wanted in his home country for the murder of opposition members.