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Noriega declared prisoner of war

MIAMI (AP) - A judge yesterday declared Manuel Noriega to be a prisoner of war and said that the ousted Panamanian leader could be sent to a civilian prison only if he receives full protection under the Geneva Convention.

The decision marks the first time a US judge has declared a convicted criminal protected by the rules of war, a constitutional expert said. Noriega's lawyers immediately filed a habeas corpus motion to prevent the government sending him to a special underground wing at a maximum-security federal prison in Marion, Illinois, where they said the conditions would violate the Geneva Convention.