Panama’s ex-dictator dies at 83

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Panama City, May 30 (IANS) Panama’s former dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega has passed away at the age of 83 here, according to officials.

Noriega, who ruled the country between 1983 and 1989 before being overthrown by an American invasion, was in the intensive care unit (ICU) since March 7 after undergoing an operation removing a benign brain tumour. He died on Monday night, Efe news reported.

His health condition worsened after the former strongman had to undergo a second surgical operation due to cerebral bleeding he suffered a few hours after the March 7 surgery.

Since then he has been in the ICU of Santo Tomas Hospital, the largest medical facility in the country.

Noriega was extradited to Panama on December 11, 2011 after serving more than 20 years in jail in the US and France for drug trafficking and money laundering.

He was serving more than 60 years in El Renacer prison near Panama City until January 28, when he was granted temporary house arrest so that he could complete the pre- and post-operative care outside prison.

In 2010, a new criminal charge was laid against him for alleged involvement in the disappearance in 1970 and death of leftist leader Heliodoro Portugal, but the trial was suspended in 2016 due to Noriega’s health problems.

–IANS

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