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Panama's former military dictator Noriega dies at 83

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Iron fist: Manuel Noriega

Iron fist: Manuel Noriega

AP

Iron fist: Manuel Noriega

Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, a one-time US ally who was ousted as Panama's dictator by an American invasion in 1989, has died aged 83.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela wrote in his Twitter account that "the death of Manuel A Noriega closes a chapter in our history".

Noriega served a 17-year drug sentence in the United States and was later sent to face charges in France.

The final years of his life were spent in a Panamanian prison for the murder of political opponents during his 1983-89 regime. Noriega ruled with an iron fist, ordering the deaths of opponents and maintaining a close yet murky relationship with the US.

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