New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is once again igniting a push to bring wanted fugitive Assata Shakur back to American shores. Gov. Christie wrote an op-ed that was published Wednesday (Mar. 23) demanding President Barack Obama to urge officials in Cuba to no longer grant Shakur political asylum and have her face justice.
Christie’s op-ed piece appeared in The Record and made mention of President Obama’s recent visit to Cuba and the reopening of diplomatic ties between the nations. Christie addressed Shakur by her birth name, Joanne Chesimard, and mentioned her criminal record, most especially her role in the death of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster.
From The Record:
For more than three decades, the Cuban government has given safe harbor and refuge to a domestic terrorist – a cop killer who was duly tried and convicted by a jury of her peers, sentenced to imprisonment, and who fled justice rather than pay for her crimes. Every day that she remains at large from justice has been a travesty to her victims’ families and the memory of Trooper Foerster.
Having drawn attention to these restored relations with no less than a presidential trip but without any mention of the fugitives harbored by Cuba, I urge the president to do what common sense and decency requires – that he demand the return of convicted murderer Joanne Chesimard, who stands remorseless and free after the cold-blooded, execution-style killing of a New Jersey State Trooper and the serious wounding of another.
There has not been a response from the White House regarding Christie’s letter.
Shakur escaped prison in 1979 after she was convicted of first-degree murder and seven other felony charges. She traveled to Cuba in 1984 and has been living there ever since. Cuban officials told Christie in 2014 that they have not entered into an extradition treaty with the United States and haven’t announced new plans to do so.
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