Cuba will not extradite US fugitive: Official

Cuba will not extradite US fugitive: Official

Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:43AM GMT

Cuba says it will not extradite a US fugitive who has taken refuge in the Caribbean country, despite a recent détente with Washington.

Cuba’s head of North American affairs, Josefina Vidal, said on Monday that Havana has no intention of extraditing America’s most-wanted woman, Joanne Chesimard, since there is “no extradition treaty in effect between Cuba and the US.”

She noted that anything can be discussed between the two neighbors as they move to re-establish ties, adding, however, that, “Every nation has sovereign and legitimate rights to grant political asylum to people it considers to have been persecuted.”

“We’ve explained to the US government in the past that there are some people living in Cuba to whom Cuba has legitimately granted political asylum,” she said.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has asked US President Barack Obama to demand that Cuba return Chesimard, a woman convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973, before Washington restores full relations with Havana.

In a major policy shift, Obama on December 17 described the US policy toward Cuba as outdated and ineffective and announced that Washington and Havana will restore diplomatic relations more than 50 years after they were cut.

Cuba and the United States have not had diplomatic relations since 1961.

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