LISBON, Portugal — Portugal’s Supreme Court has refused a second appeal by the U.S. to extradite American fugitive George Wright.
A court ruling provided to The Associated Press on Wednesday showed judges confirmed a decision last month to deny a U.S. appeal for extradition. They issued their ruling Tuesday without providing details.
The U.S. can lodge a final appeal at the Constitutional Court in Lisbon.
Portuguese police captured the 68-year-old Wright near the capital Lisbon last September, ending his four decades on the lam after escaping from a New Jersey prison.
by George Pumphrey, Berlin, Germany
December 4, 2011 Prison Radio
Many news articles had an aura of the “spectacular” in their reporting on Portugal’s arrest of the Portuguese citizen, Jose Luis Jorge Dos Santos (George Wright), at the request of the US government for consideration of his extradition to the United States. The articles placed their accent on the arrest of a “convicted murderer,” who had been a fugitive for 41 years.
Portuguese police arrested Jose Luis Jorge Dos Santos, earlier known as George Wright, September 26, 2011. In 1970, after serving eight of a 15 – 30 year sentence, Wright, along with three other inmates escaped from the Bayside minimum security prison facility in Leesburg N.J. According to the media, US officials are allegedly seeking to have Wright return “to serve the remainder of a 15- to 30-year jail sentence for the killing of Walter Patterson,” during a 1962 gas station hold-up in New Jersey. (One must add “allegedly,” because the media quotes no specific US official alleging that this is the sole or even the main reason for their seeking his return.)
In 1972, Wright, and 4 other Afro-American (taking along 3 children), hijacked a Delta Airlines flight from the USA to Algeria with a ransom of $1,000,000 destined for the foreign section of the Black Panther Party, based in Algiers at the time. Wrights 4 companions were arrested in Paris in 1976 based on a US extradition demand for their hijacking. France refused extradition that same year, recognizing that their hijacking had been a politically motivated act in the struggle against US racism. Having refused to extradite them, France, in accordance with an international treaty, was compelled to try them in a French court, even though the hijacking had nothing to do with French jurisdiction. In 1978, they were tried and convicted of the hijacking. Continue reading
LISBON, Portugal — A Portuguese court has denied a U.S. request for the extradition of captured American fugitive who spent 41 years on the run in a journey that took him across three continents, and included the brazen 1972 hijacking of a jet from America to Algeria.
George Wright, 68, who was released from house arrest, told reporters Thursday he was “very happy, morally and spiritually,” with the decision. He claimed his extradition to serve the rest of a sentence for a fatal New Jersey gas station robbery in 1962 was not justified because accomplices fired the shots that killed the owner.
Wright also admitted the plane hijacking and said he committed it as a militant member of the Black Liberation Army “to fight for black rights…to support the hopes of black people” — but is now a changed man.
“I’m not the person I was then,” said a relaxed Wright, occasionally smiling, at a news conference in his lawyer’s office attended by his Portuguese wife and their two grown children. Continue reading