Assata Shakur has resurfaced in the news of late in the wake of renewed diplomatic discussions between the United States and Cuba. While Shakur is a wanted fugitive by the U.S. Government, Cuban officials have essentially expressed they would not extradite the activist and author.
The Associated Press released a story Monday (Dec. 22) night about Cuba’s position on extradition. Shakur is the most-wanted woman on the FBI’s list of fugitives, but it appears her freedom will not be in jeopardy. This latest development surfaced just as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has vowed to bring Shakur, also known as Joanne Chesimard, to justice for her alleged involvement in the death of a state trooper.
More from the AP:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has urged President Barack Obama to demand the return of fugitive Joanne Chesimard before restoring full relations under a historic detente announced by Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro last week.
Chesimard was granted asylum by Fidel Castro after she escaped from the prison where she was serving a sentence for killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973 during a gunbattle after being stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Asked if returning fugitives was open to negotiation, Cuba’s head of North American affairs, Josefina Vidal, told The Associated Press that “every nation has sovereign and legitimate rights to grant political asylum to people it considers to have been persecuted. … That’s a legitimate right.”
“We’ve explained to the U.S. government in the past that there are some people living in Cuba to whom Cuba has legitimately granted political asylum,” Vidal said.
Vidal added that the U.S. And Cuba do not have an extradition treaty between them. The FBI and the New Jersey State Police have offered a $2 million reward related to Shakur’s capture.
Vidal also offered to the AP that the Cuban government has asked for individuals it considers fugitives to be returned to Cuba that are “welcomed” by the U.S. Government.