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Many indifferent as Noriega returns to Panama cell

December 13, 2011 • World News


Panama’s ex-dictator Manuel Noriega, left, gestures while being carried in a wheelchair by police officers inside El Renacer prison in the outskirts of Panama City, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011. Noriega returned home Sunday concluding his extradition from France after more than 20 years in U.S. and French prisons for drug trafficking and money laundering. Panama convicted him during his captivity overseas for the slayings of two political opponents in the 1980s. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) — Manuel Noriega is back in his Panamanian homeland after nearly 22 years, sitting in a prison cell in a country he ruled as a personal fiefdom until U.S. troops invaded and hauled him off to a Florida jail.

A few protesters gathered outside El Renacer prison as the 77-year-old former general was spirited inside Sunday night after an extradition flight from France, yet the overwhelming mood among his countrymen seemed to be indifference.

While some people banged pots and honked car horns in Panama City’s downtown in a symbolic gesture of disdain for Noriega, most Panamanians on the capital’s crowded streets were out holiday shopping.

Officials escorted Noriega home on an Iberia airlines’ jet that touched down at Tocumen airport Sunday afternoon in a flight that began in Paris and made a stop in Madrid.

Noriega, who served 17 years in U.S. prison for drug trafficking and nearly two years in France for a money-laundering conviction, Login to read more

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