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Ex-Panama leader Noriega appeals to Red Cross

Lawyers for Manuel Noriega appealed to the Red Cross today, saying the ex-dictator is being detained in appalling conditions and has been unfairly denied prisoner of war status.



Paris: Lawyers for Manuel Noriega appealed to
the Red Cross today, saying the ex-dictator is being detained
in appalling conditions and has been unfairly denied prisoner
of war status.

Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1981 to 1989, was
extradited to France from the United States on April 27 to
face charges of laundering drug profits, two decades after he
was arrested by US forces in his country.

Lawyers for the 76-year-old general have written to Jakob
Kellenberger, the president of the Geneva-based International
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to urge him to intervene on
their client`s behalf.

"We are asking, on behalf of our client, your
intervention to end this violation of international
humanitarian law," lawyers Olivier Metzner and Yves
Leberquier wrote in the letter.

Noriega, who suffers from partial paralysis and high
blood pressure, has been jailed at the Paris La Sante prison
and a hearing is set for next week to set a trial date.

At that hearing on May 12, Noriega`s lawyers will urge
the judge to release the ex-president pending trial and spare
him what they say are harsh detention conditions.

"We know the La Sante detention centre for having been
there several times," wrote the lawyers. "We know how old and
decrepit it is."

PTI

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