Amnesty International has urged Panama to ensure that Manuel Noriega faces justice for human rights violations committed during his rule in the 1980s, after France confirmed it will seek to extradite the former leader.
Noriega is alleged to have been responsible for extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, detention without trial and the torture and ill-treatment of demonstrators while he was de facto ruler of Panama from 1983 to 1989.
"Manuel Noriega must receive a fresh, fair and impartial trial on his return to Panama if the victims of these alleged crimes and their families are to receive real justice," said Sebastian Elgueta, Researcher on Central America for Amnesty International.
Currently serving a sentence in a French prison for money laundering, the 77-year-old Noriega was told of his extradition on 29 July. He has a month to appeal the decision.
Courts in Panama tried Noriega in absentia in 1995 for the killing of political opponents. Amnesty International opposes trials in absentia on principle, and would expect Noriega to receive a new trial for these and other alleged human rights violations.
In 2010, Noriega was extradited from the USA to France where he had been sentenced in absentia in 1999 to seven years in jail. He was convicted of laundering millions of euros through French banks.
Before that Noriega served a 20 year sentence in a US prison for drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering.
He was deposed as de facto president when US troops invaded Panama in December 1989.