Noriega en route to prison in Panama
Former Panama strongman Manuel Noriega flew out of France yesterday and headed home to more prison time two decades after being ousted in a bloody US invasion.
An Iberia plane carrying the former dictator took off from a Paris airport shortly after 0800 GMT and headed to Madrid, from where the 77-year-old was to begin the final leg of his journey home.
Noriega is due to arrive in Panama on an Iberia flight at 5:30pm, guarded by a delegation of six foreign ministry officials, police, doctors and a prosecutor who prepared the transfer in Paris.
After serving more than 20 years in prisons in the United States and France for drug trafficking and money laundering, Noriega will face three separate sentences of 20 years in Panama for crimes committed under his dictatorship, including the murder of critics.
The return of Noriega, on the CIA's payroll from 1968 to 1986 before he became an enemy of Washington, has sparked speculation over the possibility that he could reveal secrets about political figures and wealth amassed under his regime.