Imprisoned Panamanian Gen. Manuel Noriega is awaiting trial in a three-room "dictator's suite" furnished with a color TV, an exercise bike, a private shower, an IBM computer and a paper shredder.
A Sunday report in The Miami Herald said Noriega's suite at the Metropolitan Correctional Center also has a telephone, an executive's desk, a conference table, six chairs and two safes with alarm systems.In the evening, while the other 1,232 prisoners are locked in their cells, guards accompany Noriega on a stroll of the prison grounds, walking among the ficus trees on a lakeside pathway. Sometimes hecklers peek out and shout, "Sissy."
"Tennis at 11, tea at 3," Noriega joked one day to defense attorney Jon May.
Noriega, awaiting a 1991 trial on cocaine charges, leads a comfortable but isolated life in the suburban prison 24 miles southwest of Miami, his lawyers said.
"The general doesn't complain about anything," said May.
Noriega, Inmate No. 41586, has a cell-bedroom, a conference room and an office. Defense attorney Richard Sharpstein, who represents a co-defendant, dubbed it the "Dictator's Suite."
Frank Rubino, another of Noriega's attorneys, said the office equipment is used by the lawyers to help prepare Noriega's defense.
"He's entitled to it because of his confinement," Rubino said.
But Noriega can't open the safes, which contain secret documents, because he doesn't have the combination, Rubino said.