Dec 11 - Former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega prepares to fly to his home country after 22 years in U.S. and French jails. Rough cut (No reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Manuel Noriega, Panama's ruthless drug-running military dictator of the 1980s, who has spent nearly 22 years in U.S. and French jails, arrived at a Paris airport in the early hours of Sunday (December 11) morning. He will transit in Madrid before heading across the Atlantic to Panama City where he is expected to land at around 1730 local time. Panama's attorney general and a doctor will be part of the team accompanying Noriega on a commercial flight back to his homeland. Noriega will be delivered to a jungle-bound jail where he will begin serving a 20 year term for the murders of opponents during his rule. Noriega, now 77, was toppled in a U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989 and has spent the last two decades behind bars, first in Florida and then in France after being convicted for drug trafficking and money laundering during his time in power. A physically diminished shadow of the strongman once known for waving a machete while delivering fiery speeches, Noriega's return is unlikely to have a major political impact on a country that has enjoyed an economic boom in recent years.