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Panama's former dictator Manuel Noriega is seen on a television screen in Panama City June 24, 2015. Noriega apologises to the country after 25 years in jail during an exclusive interview with a local news channel. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

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PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega will undergo surgery to remove a benign brain tumour, his doctor said on Friday.

The tumor, called a meningioma, was detected several years ago and has kept growing, his doctor Eduardo Reyes said by telephone.

Noriega, 82, would be transferred from prison to a hospital on Monday and was scheduled for surgery on Thursday, Reyes said.

Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989 and is currently serving time in prison on murder charges, asked Panamanians last year to forgive him and his former colleagues.

(Reporting by Elida Moreno; Editing by Paul Tait)

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