Political exile Assata Shakur is safe – for now. The 67-year-old former Black Panther has lived in Cuba for decades since escaping a U.S. prison in 1979, while serving a widely disputed sentence for killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster. When the U.S. announced last December a renewal of diplomatic relations with Cuba, supporters worried that Shakur would be extradited to the U.S. as part of the deal. But that’s not the case.
From The Grio via Yahoo News:
“I can say it is off the table,” Gustavo Machin, the deputy director for American affairs at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, replied when asked if Shakur, whose birth name is Joanne Chesimard, would be returned to New Jersey now that Cuba and the U.S. are restoring diplomatic relations.
Not only is Shakur’s extradition off the table, Machin explained, but the Cuban official went so far as to question the fairness and validity of Shakur’s 1977 criminal trial. ”There are very serious doubts about that case,” said Machin. “We consider that a politically motivated case against that lady.”