The Americas

Lawyer: Panama to allow ex-dictator Noriega house arrest

Panamanian military strongman Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega raises his fists to acknowledge the crowd cheers on May 20, 1988.

Panamanian military strongman Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega raises his fists to acknowledge the crowd cheers on May 20, 1988.  (AP)

A lawyer for Panama's jailed ex-dictator Manuel Noriega says a court has granted him house arrest so he can prepare for brain surgery.

Attorney Ezra Angel announced the ruling Monday.

The 82-year-old former strongman needs to have a benign brain tumor surgically removed.

A court had ruled in October that Noriega be allowed to prepare for and recuperate from the procedure at a public hospital rather than prison.

But Angel has argued that Noriega should be allowed to recuperate at home. He said last year that neither prison nor the hospital would be adequate.

Noriega has been behind bars for the murders of opposition members 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.