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Former U.S. foe Noriega has brain surgery to remove tumor

Noriega became dictator in 1983 and ruled for six years before a 1989 U.S. invasion removed him from power.

By
Doug G. Ware
Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega, left, walks by several of his troops in 1985. Family members said Tuesday that the 83-year-old former leader has undergone brain surgery to remove a tumor. Noriega ruled Panama between 1983 and 1989, when a U.S. invasion removed him from power. File Photo by STF/European Pressphoto Agency
Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega, left, walks by several of his troops in 1985. Family members said Tuesday that the 83-year-old former leader has undergone brain surgery to remove a tumor. Noriega ruled Panama between 1983 and 1989, when a U.S. invasion removed him from power. File Photo by STF/European Pressphoto Agency

March 7 (UPI) -- Former Panamanian dictator and onetime U.S. military target Manuel Noriega has undergone surgery for a brain tumor, family members said Tuesday.

The 83-year-old had the operation at a Panama City hospital, but his condition was not immediately known, not even to family members.

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"It's over, but we don't know anything yet about his condition," daughter Sandra Noriega Sieiro said.

Noriega has been serving a lengthy prison sentence since returning to Panama in 2011 and has been under house arrest since his health took a turn for the worse on Jan. 28.

The surgery had been scheduled for last month but was delayed as physicians awaited test results.

Noriega ruled Panama as dictator between 1983 and 1989, during which time he was accused of a number of offenses. After his rule was toppled by a U.S. invasion in 1989, Noriega was prosecuted in the United States and France on charges that included drug trafficking and money laundering.

In 2011, Noriega was extradited back to Panama to face human rights charges. A conviction on multiple accounts and 60-year prison sentence sent him to prison, presumably for life.

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Some news reports Tuesday said Noriega was in "stable" condition, but remains in intensive care.

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