Friday, July 20, 2007

Manuel Noriega Release Date in September

After being convicted of running a massive narco-kleptocracy in Panama, former thug President Manuel Noriega was sentenced in 1989 to 40 years in federal prison -- later reduced to 30 years. He is soon to be released after serving less than 20 years in the joint.
Now aged 71 and judged to have earned time off for good behaviour, he is due to be released on September 9 from the Federal Correctional Institution in Miami, where he has spent the past 17 years in an apartment-style cell nicknamed "the presidential suite." His accommodation includes two rooms, a television, a telephone and an exercise bike, Noriega having successfully argued that as a "prisoner of war" he deserves special privileges.
Due to Noriega's pending release, a controversy has surfaced regarding where he should be sent. French authorities want him extradited to Paris to face charges for allegedly buying property using illegal drug money.

Panamanian authorities sort-kinda want him returned to face murder charges for killing and beheading a political opponent while, at the same time, they are somewhat leery of the possibility that sympathetic elements will push to allow him to live out his golden years as a free man.

It remains to be seen what will happen to "Pineapple Face" but, if anyone asked me, he should stay in prison for the rest of his life with the two rooms, telephone, television and exercise bike taken away.