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Noriega leaves hospital in Panama, returns to jail

PANAMA CITY (AP) – Medical authorities in Panama say former dictator Manuel Noriega has left a hospital four days after fainting in the prison where he is serving time for murder, embezzlement and corruption.

Health Minister Franklin Vergara says the ex-strongman was returned to the custody of Public Security Ministry officials Thursday.

The 77-year-old Noriega was taken to a hospital Sunday after suffering what appeared to be ill effects of hypertension.

Noriega was toppled by a 1989 U.S. invasion and served 17 years in a U.S. prison for drug trafficking. He was later convicted in France of money laundering.

France sent him home on Dec. 11 to serve a combined 60-year Panamanian prison sentence on murder, embezzlement and corruption charges.

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