October 17, 2016 - 6:37 PM
PANAMA CITY - A Panamanian court has ordered that imprisoned former leader Manuel Noriega be allowed to prepare for and recuperate from a surgery at a public hospital rather than prison.
In a statement Monday, the judiciary said the decision was based on a report from the country's medical institute.
The 82-year-old former strongman needs to have a benign brain tumour surgically removed. He was scheduled to have the procedure in July, but apparently backed out because he feared contracting an infection.
Noriega's lawyer, Ezra Angel, said Monday that the court's order, which he had not yet received formally, was in response to his petition that Noriega be allowed to recuperate at home.
Neither "prison nor the hospital are adequate," Angel said.
Noriega has been imprisoned for the murders of members of the opposition since he was sent to Panama from France in December 2011.
He ruled Panama from 1983 until a U.S. invasion ousted him in 1989.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016