U.S. officials say Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has approved the extradition of former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega to France.
Officials said Monday that Clinton signed the order for Noriega to go to France where he is wanted on money laundering charges. Noriega was later escorted to the airport in Miami and put on an Air France flight headed for Paris.
The former dictator surrendered to U.S. troops in January 1990, shortly after the U.S. invasion of Panama. He was convicted in the United States in 1992 of drug trafficking and other charges.
In 2007, Noriega completed a 17-year prison term dating from the time of his capture, but remained in custody pending the outcome of appeals.
Noriega's attorneys have argued that he was a prisoner of war and therefore should be allowed to return home to Panama.
Noriega recently exhausted all legal avenues for him to challenge his extradition from the United States.
A Noriega attorney, Frank Rubino, said no one from the State or Justice Departments had the common courtesy to let him know about the extradition.