Ex-Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega in coma after surgery

Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega speaks during a military ceremony on May 20, 1988.

Story highlights

  • Noriega experienced severe brain hemorrhaging, lawyer says
  • The former dictator will be kept in a medically induced coma for five days

(CNN)Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, 83, is in a medically induced coma after suffering severe brain hemorrhaging, his attorney told CNN affiliate TV Panama. The hemorrhage occurred after Noriega underwent surgery to have a benign tumor removed from his brain.

"He is in intensive care following a second open cranial surgery in less than eight hours," lawyer Ezra Ángel said. "The situation is delicate. He is in critical condition and we hope he recovers in the coming hours."
Noriega will be kept in the medically induced coma for a minimum of five days, his attorney told TV Panama.
Noriega came to power in the 1980s, and by 1983 controlled Panama's armed forces and civilian government. Relations between the United States and Noriega-led Panama broke down in the years that followed due to growing unrest. In 1989, then-US President George H.W. Bush invaded Panama on a mission to oust Noriega under the banner "Operation Just Cause."
Noriega's 1991 trial, and eventual conviction, in US court on drug smuggling and racketeering charges was called the "trial of the century" by the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
Noriega served an almost 20-year prison sentence in the United States. He has been serving a seven-year sentence he received from a French court for laundering €2.3 million ($2.9 million) in 2010. Noriega was extradited from France in 2011 to serve the remainder of his sentence in Panama.
In October, a court granted his request to recover from surgery in the hospital rather than in prison.