Panamanian President To Extradite Noriega If Acquitted With AM-Noriega
PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) _ President Guillermo Endara said Thursday his government would extradite ex- dictator Manuel Noriega and try him at home if he is acquitted of drug trafficking and racketeering charges in the United States.
Deliberations are expected to begin Friday in Noriega’s trial in federal court in Miamai.
″Mr. Noriega committed crimes in Panama,″ Endara said, referring to local indictments on murder and corruption charges.
Asked if he was worried Noriega’s supporters might rally behind him and cause problems for his government, he replied: ″I don’t foresee any of this.″
″We’ll have to put him someplace where he won’t be the victim of people who want to lynch him,″ Endara said. ″This is the only problem.″
Endara spoke at a weekly news conference in the presidential palace.
He expressed confidence that Panama’s justice system could supply Noriega with ″fast and effective justice, while at the same time providing for proper legal procedure and all the defendants’ rights.″
Endara noted that Noriega still had other charges pending in the United States. Noriega is wanted on drug trafficking charges by a federal court in Tampa.
Some Panamanians have criticized the local courts for delays in trying 51 Noriega cronies on homicide, corruption and other charges. They have been jailed since a December 1989 invasion by U.S. forces that ousted Noriega, carried him off for trial and oversaw the installation of Endara.
Only three of the defendants’ trials have concluded. The three were convicted and sentenced to varying prison terms.
Noriega is accused in connection with two killings - the September 1985 decapitation of opponent Hugo Spadafora and the execution of army Maj. Moises Giroldi after a failed coup in October 1989.
Other cases against him include embezzlement, abuse of power and corruption, and funneling millions of dollars of public money into private accounts.