Former Panama strongman Manuel Noriega dead

London [United Kingdom], May 30 : Former Panama dictator General Manuel Antonio Noriega died late Monday in Panama City.

He was 83. Noriega was in a hospital recovering from a brain tumor operation, The Telegraph quoted local government sources as saying.

Juan Carlos Varela, president of Panama, announced Noriega's death on Twitter. "The death of Manuel Noriega closes a chapter in our history; his daughters and their families deserve a burial in peace," he said.

Noriega had spent the last two and a half decades behind bars after being convicted on drug trafficking and money laundering charges.

He was first imprisoned in Florida, then in France, before being flown back to Panama in 2011. He was also convicted in absentia in three homicide cases involving 11 murders, including the 1985 beheading of Hugo Spadafora, a physician who threatened to reveal Noriega's drug ties, and the 1989 execution-style slaying of nine officers who staged a failed coup.

Widely reviled when he was Panama's de facto leader from 1983 until 1989, his small cadre of remaining supporters had kept a low profile and even bitter opponents dismissed Noriega as part of a distant, shadowy past.

(ANI with inputs).

Source: ANI