For the last nearly 40 years, American fugitive Assata Shakur has been living a peaceful life in Cuba. But New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is determined to put an end to that.
In an op-ed for The Record, Christie penned an essay demanding that Cuban officials return Shakur, who fled to Cuba in 1977 after she was convicted of allegedly killing a New Jersey state trooper, to the States. Though she is considered one of the FBI’s Most Wanted, many say that she was framed because of her ties to the Black Panther Party.
“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,” Christie wrote. “Every day that she remains at large from justice has been a travesty to her victims’ families and the memory of Trooper [Werner] Foerster.”
Christie condemns President Obama for visiting Cuba, saying that the two countries’ restored relationship “comes at the expense of justice” for the slain trooper. He calls on President Obama to delay diplomatic relations until Cuban officials extradite Shakur to the United states.
“Reopening an embassy in Havana and celebrating the opening of one in Washington D.C., should not be the hallmarks of success in defining improved relations with Cuba,” he wrote. “True progress would be a better and more just Cuba for its people and a reversal of human rights violations that continue to rise. True progress would put an end to the safe haven Cuba is providing to a convicted killer.”
Though Cuban officials have not responded to Christie’s op-ed, last March, Gustavo Machin, the deputy director for American affairs at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that extradition will not be considered.
“I can say that it is off the table,” he told Yahoo! News. “There are very serious doubts about that case. We consider that a politically motivated case against that lady.”