Manuel Noriega Gets 7-Year Sentence
France nails former dictator for laundering drug money
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 7, 2010 9:27 AM CDT
This May 1989 file photo shows General Manuel Antonio Noriega speaking to the press in Panama.   (Anonymous)

(Newser) – A Paris court today convicted former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega of laundering drug money in France in the 1980s and ordered him to spend seven years behind bars—a sentence that comes on top of his two decades already spent in a US prison. The three-judge panel also ordered the seizure of $2.89 million that has long been frozen in Noriega's accounts.

Noriega, who gives his age as 76, was deposed after a 1989 US invasion and went on to serve 20 years in a Florida prison for drug trafficking. He was extradited to France in April. Prosecutors there argued that millions of dollars that passed through Noriega's French accounts during the late 1980s were kickbacks from the powerful Medellin cocaine cartel. Noriega's lawyers, meanwhile, painted him as a foe of drug traffickers, suggesting that he'd only been jailed in the US to keep his connections with the CIA quiet.