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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 September 2007, 19:49 GMT 20:49 UK
Former Panama leader stays in US
Manuel Noriega
Manuel Noriega is not giving up the fight against extradition to France
Panama's former military ruler Manuel Noriega remains in jail in the United States, even though his 17-year sentence for drug offences has ended.

He had been due to leave jail and be extradited to France, where he has been convicted on money laundering charges.

But defence lawyers filed a last-minute appeal which will be heard by a federal court in Georgia and could take weeks.

A US judge last week rejected an earlier appeal by Mr Noriega, 73, that sought to block his extradition.

For now, Mr Noriega will remain in his cell in Miami.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons on Sunday listed Mr Noriega's projected release date as "unknown".

"The government has agreed to keep General Noriega here until all appeals are exhausted," Mr Noriega's lawyer Frank Rubino told the Associated Press news agency.

"It's going to be a slow and orderly process."

Mr Noriega was sentenced to 10 years in jail in France in 1999 for laundering money through French banks to buy three luxurious apartments.

He was once one of Washington's top allies in Central America.

But charges of drug-trafficking, election-rigging and human rights violations led to the US invasion into Panama and the seizure of Noriega in 1989.

Noriega suffers extradition blow
07 Sep 07 |  Americas
Noriega given stay of extradition
06 Sep 07 |  Americas
Q&A: Manuel Noriega extradition
07 Sep 07 |  Americas
Is Noriega too hot to handle?
06 Sep 07 |  Americas
Noriega fights France extradition
23 Jul 07 |  Americas
Panama 'wants Noriega extradited'
20 Jul 07 |  Americas
Country profile: Panama
25 Aug 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Panama
25 Aug 07 |  Country profiles

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