Friday, January 20, 2017

Cuba deal 'burns bridge' to convicted cop killer's return, N.J. State Police head says

Cuba deal 'burns bridge' to convicted cop killer's return, N.J. State
Police head says
By S.P. Sullivan | NJ Advance Media for
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on January 19, 2017 at 5:43 PM

TRENTON -- The head of the New Jersey State Police on Thursday decried a
deal struck between the United States and Cuba because it did not
require the return of convicted cop killer Joanne Chesimard.

Earlier this week, the White House announced an agreement on law
enforcement cooperation with Cuba, part of President Barack Obama's
effort to normalize relations between the two countries.

The Associated Press reported the State Department and Cuba's Interior
Ministry agreed to share information on international criminal activity
including human trafficking and terrorism.

Some Republicans cried foul over the deal, partly because of objections
to sharing sensitive information with the Castro regime and because it
did not require the island nation to extradite high-profile U.S.
fugitives it has been harboring.

Among those fugitives is Chesimard, who goes by Assata Shakur and was
convicted for the 1973 killing of New Jersey State Trooper Werner
Foerster. Chesimard later escaped prison and fled to Cuba, where she
holds asylum status and maintains her innocence.

Col. Rick Fuentes invokes convicted trooper-killer Joanne Chesimard in
travel warning

In a statement released on Thursday, State Police Superintendent Col.
Rick Fuentes, who for years has led the campaign for Chesimard's return
to serve her murder sentence, expressed "bewilderment and confusion" at
the agreement.

The colonel criticized the deal for not requiring the return of
Chesimard as well as fugitives Victor Luis Gerena, Charlie Hill and
William Guillermo Morales.

"Their omission from this agreement and from the negotiations-at-large
is so glaring as to signal a clear intent by the Obama administration to
ignore these fugitives," Fuentes said.

"By burning the last bridge to this administration's opportunity to gain
their negotiated return, families who have long suffered the
consequences of their terrorist acts and law enforcement everywhere in
this country have been shown the back of the hand."

Fuentes said "an ignominious torch has been passed to the next
president" and added that he and other state officials would work with
President-elect Donald Trump's administration to negotiate Chesimard's

S.P. Sullivan may be reached at

Source: Cuba deal 'burns bridge' to convicted cop killer's return, N.J.
State Police head says | -

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