General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the former military dictator of Panama, is in critical condition after he suffered from a brain haemorrhage on Tuesday (7 March), following surgery to remove a benign tumour. He was operated for the second time and doctors were successful in halting the blood loss.

However, his eldest daughter Thays Noriega confirmed that he remains in a critical condition at the Santo Tomas hospital in Panama City.

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

He added that open brain surgery was performed on Noriega as high blood pressure could have caused the haemorrhage.

Noriega – who was in jail for murder, corruption and embezzlement – was transferred to house arrest on 29 January to prepare for the operation, which was initially scheduled for mid-February.

Noriega was a key figure between 1983-89 in Panama, and had close ties with the US for four decades.

However, he was jailed following the US invasion of Panama in 1989 on drug trafficking charges, associating him with Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

After serving 20 years in US jail, he was transferred to a French prison, where he was sentenced to seven years for money laundering before being transferred to Panama in 2011.

There he was convicted in absentia of crimes carried out while he was the country's general and was sentenced the same year, the BBC reported.