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Tipsheet

Cuba on Returning Cop Killer Joanne Chesimard: We Have The Right to Protect "Persecuted" Fugitives

When President Obama announced his plans to "normalize" relations with Cuba last week, he got little in return for the move from the Castro regime. Regardless, the announcement opened the door for federal law enforcement to ask the question, "With normalization will Cuba return convicted cop killer Joanne Chesimard, who murdered New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973, to the United States?" New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also sent a letter to President Obama over the weekend saying Chesimard's return should happen before further negotiation and diplomacy with the Cuban government. 

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Regardless, the Castro regime has no plans to return a "persecuted" Chesimard, who is on the FBI's most wanted terrorist list, so she can finish her prison sentence.

Cuba said Monday that it has a right to grant asylum to U.S. fugitives, the clearest sign yet that the communist government has no intention of extraditing America's most-wanted woman despite the warming of bilateral ties.

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.

"There's no extradition treaty in effect between Cuba and the U.S.," she added.
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If the Cuban government won't even return convicted cop killers to the United States, don't expect them to embrace the values of democracy any time soon.

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