As the United States and Cuba ready themselves to patch their decades-long severed diplomatic relations, alleged cop killer and political prisoner Assata Shakur could be extradited back to the U.S. from the small sovereign nation to complete her life-sentence prison term, according to NJ.com.
Shakur, who formerly went by the name JoAnne Chesimard, is now 67-years-old, and remains a fugitive who was granted political asylum by Cuban president Fidel Castro in 1984.
Shakur was a prominent member of famed activist groups, the Black Panther Party and then the Black Liberation Army, and in 1973 she was involved in a shootout on the New Jersey turnpike. In that confrontation, state trooper Werner Foerster was shot in the head. BLA member Zayd Malik Shakur was also shot and killed in the incident, and Shakur was shot and wounded—incidentally with her hands up, according to a neurologist who testified at her murder trial.
Between the years 1973 and 1977, Shakur was indicted for six other alleged criminal incidences—murder, attempted murder, bank robbery, armed robbery and kidnapping —all resulting in three acquittals and three dismissals.
The year 1977 brought about a first-degree murder conviction for Shakur for the reported execution-style shooting of the state trooper and a total of seven other felonies related to the crime.
Two years after her conviction and a handed-down life sentence, Shakur escaped from prison, lived underground for five years, then found her way to Cuba, where she was granted political asylum and has lived for the past 30 years.
Last year, the petite, Queens, N.Y.-born woman and godmother of the late rapper Tupac Shakur made history when she became the first woman to land on the FBI’s Most Wanted terrorist list. The FBI and the N.J. State Police are offering $2 million for information leading to her capture.
Even after all these years and failed extradition attempts, the sexagenarian Shakur is still deemed a threat.
Special agent in charge of the FBI in Newark, Aaron Ford told NJ.com, “As long as there is an active warrant for … Chesimard, the FBI will continue to pursue justice, regardless of how long it takes, and are hopeful any changes in relations between the United States and Cuba will assist us with her apprehension and return.”
Others, however, think not so fast.
Roland Roebuck, a community activist, recently appeared on the Roland Martin show on Cuba, and believes Shakur will not be returned to the U.S. via the Cuban government.
Roebuck said, “Cuba is not going to collaborate with the FBI in returning” Shakur and others like her. He continued, “I think Cuba will lose face within Central America and South America if they engage in that type of collaboration.”