Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Noriega Extradition: Certification of Extraditability

As noted previously, for Manuel Noriega to be extradited to France, where he is wanted on money laundering charges, a magistrate judge would need to determine that he is extraditable. Today, that happened. Magistrate Judge William C. Turnoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida made the determination, finding that there is an extradition treaty in force between the United States and France, that Noriega is charged with a crime in France, that the offenses for which Noriega is wanted are covered by the U.S.-France Extradition Treaty, that Noriega is the same person wanted by France for those charges, and that sufficient evidence has been presented to establish probable cause that Noriega committed the charged offenses. (He must have also rejected any other challenges to extradition, including, possibly, those raised previously regarding Noriega's POW status.) Noriega's attorney is quoted as saying "I can assure this court and everyone else you haven’t heard the end of this," which seems to suggest that Noriega will file a habeas petition challenging the certification. If that petition is dismissed and if that dismissal is affirmed on appeal, pursuant to statute, it will be up to the Secretary of State to make the final determination as to whether Noriega should be sent to France.