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FBI Puts First Woman On Its Most Wanted Terror List

posted 2 May 2013, 15:31 by Mpelembe   [ updated 2 May 2013, 15:32 ]

Joanne Chesimard, who fled to Cuba in 1979 after being convicted of killing a New Jersey State Trooper, is the first women to be put on the FBI's most wanted terrorist list.

 NEWARKNEW JERSEYUNITED STATES (MAY 2, 2013) (NBC) -  A convicted killer and former Black Liberation Army member who fled toCuba became the first woman to be put on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list on Thursday (May 2), and the reward for her capture was doubled to $2 million.

Joanne Chesimard, 65, still lives in Cuba following her escape from a New Jerseyprison in 1979, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said on the 40th anniversary of the crime.

While there is no new threat from Chesimard, she is considered a "domestic terrorist," the agency said.

"While living openly and freely in Cuba she continues to maintain and promote her terrorist ideology," said Aaron Ford, special agent in charge of the FBI's Newark,New Jersey, field office, at a news conference.

Chesimard, now known as Assata Shakur, was convicted in 1977 of the murder ofTrooper Werner Foerster on May 2, 1973.

"Today, on the anniversary of Trooper Werner Foerster's death, we want the public to know that we will not rest until this fugitive is brought to justice," Ford said.

Foerster and another trooper stopped Chesimard and two others on the New Jersey Turnpike for a motor vehicle violation, and a gunfight broke out, authorities said.

Foerster, along with a passenger in the car with Chesimard, were killed in the gun battle. Foerster had a 3-year-old son, authorities said.

Chesimard and Clark Squire, the driver of the car, were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Chesimard had left the Black Panther Party by then and became a member of theBlack Liberation Army.

During her trial and imprisonment, Chesimard, who was represented by the late civil rights attorney William Kunstler, became a cause among the left, some of whom argued she was a victim of racism and mistreatment.

After her conviction, she escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Clinton,New Jersey with the help of three visitors who were members of radical groups and were carrying hidden weapons, authorities said.

She surfaced in Cuba in 1984, they added.

The reward for her capture was being doubled with the goal of having her returned to the United States to serve out her sentence, said New Jersey Attorney GeneralJeffrey Chiesa.

""Our goal is to have her back here, back in a jail cell for what she did. And by doubling the reward we're going to bring additional attention to this and additional enthusiasm to folks who want to find her and bring her back here," said Chiesa.

The additional reward money will be funded by the state's criminal forfeiture funds, he said.