Lawyer: Panama ex-dictator Noriega critical after surgery

PANAMA CITY (AP) " Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega suffered a hemorrhage after surgery Tuesday to remove a benign brain tumor and was in critical condition following a second surgery, his lawyer said.

The attorney, Ezra Angel, said doctors had succeeded in stopping the bleeding during the second procedure and Noriega was returned to intensive care.

"He is sedated," Angel said. "His condition is critical after undergoing a (second) open brain surgery in less than eight hours."

Officials at the public Santo Tomas hospital in Panama City did not comment or return calls.

Earlier Tuesday, Noriega's daughters, Thays and Sandra Noriega, said their 83-year-old father was returned to the operating room after doctors detected bleeding following the first operation to remove the tumor.

The tumor was detected in the months after Noriega returned to Panama in December 2011 and was imprisoned for corruption and the killings of political opponents in the 1980s.

Doctors have said it grew unexpectedly recently and threatened the life of the former strongman, who has also suffered from vascular ailments and gets around in a wheelchair.

Noriega was transferred to house arrest Jan. 29 to prepare for the procedure, which was originally scheduled for mid-February.

Noriega, a former general, ruled Panama with an iron fist during his 1983-89 regime. He was ousted by a U.S. invasion in 1989 and jailed for years in the United States on drug charges.

He was then imprisoned in France for money laundering, before being returned in 2011 to Panama, where he had already been convicted in absentia.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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