San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Panama doctors recommend more care for ex-dictator Noriega

PANAMA CITY – Ex-dictator Manuel Noriega should remain hospitalized or “in a safe place where his illnesses can be treated properly,” Humberto Mas, director of Panama’s Legal Institute of Medicine and Forensic Sciences, a branch of the Prosecutor’s Office, said Monday.

Mas said Noriega “must be under a specific treatment for his ailments,” before doctors can issue a report recommending whether Noriega should be released from prison for health reasons to serve time under house arrest or in a hospital.

On Friday Noriega was “in stable medical condition without fever,” but on the recommendation of specialists, he remained in a Panama City hospital “for the weekend to rule out any complications,” the government said in a statement.

The 78-year-old former strongman was transferred to a hospital Wednesday from a prison where he is serving three consecutive 20-year sentences for the disappearance of political opponents during his ruling years, from 1983 to 1989. A one-time CIA informant, he was overthrown in a U.S. invasion in 1989.

His doctors and lawyers have been seeking permission for him to serve out his prison term in a hospital or under house arrest because of his health. According to doctors, Noriega recently was diagnosed as having two strokes, heart disease, meningioma (a brain tumor) and depression.

Comments are closed.