Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, currently imprisoned for drug trafficking, political assassinations and money laundering during his rule, will undergo surgery to remove a benign brain tumor, his doctor said Friday.
The tumor, called a meningioma, was detected several years ago and has kept growing, his doctor Eduardo Reyes told Reuters by telephone.
Noriega, 82, would be transferred from prison to a hospital on Monday and was scheduled for surgery on Thursday, Reyes said.
Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989, pleaded for forgiveness in a televised message to his country last year.
"I apologize to anyone who feels offended, hurt, injured or humiliated by my actions or my superiors in compliance with orders, or my subordinates at the time of my civil and military government’s responsibility," Noriega said in June of last year.
The plea was largely met with skepticism.
Noriega was convicted to three, 20-year sentences for the political assassinations of opponent Hugo Spada, as well as Gen. Moses Giroldi, who attempted a rebellion against Noriega in 1989.
Noriega, once a U.S. ally, allowed the U.S. to use Panama to support rebels fighting Nicaragua’s Sandinista government before the U.S. support of Noriega soured and the President George H.W. Bush ordered an invasion of the country in 1989.
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