[Ppnews] Portugals Supreme Court rejects 2nd US appeal to extradite fugitive George Wright
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Feb 1 17:07:57 EST 2012
Portugals Supreme Court rejects 2nd US appeal to
extradite fugitive George Wright
By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 11:51 AM
LISBON, Portugal Portugals 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.
A lower court judge ruled in November that Wright
had become a Portuguese citizen and that, under
Portuguese law, the statute of limitations on his
15- to 30-year sentence for a robbery-murder in
New Jersey had expired. It consequently refused to send him back to the U.S.
The Supreme Court judges wrote in Tuesdays
decision that the U.S. arguments did not invalidate the earlier ruling.
In Portugal, foreign authorities must present
their extradition request through the local Public Prosecutors office.
However, the Portuguese Public Prosecutor decided
against an appeal. Its reasons for doing so were
not made public. In Portugal, extradition cases are conducted in secret.
The Supreme Court consequently ruled that it was
not legally permissible for the U.S. to appeal
alone, rejecting the appeal on procedural grounds.
Wrights Portuguese lawyer, Manuel Luis Ferreira,
told The AP he had not yet seen the Supreme Court
ruling and declined to comment.
However, he said that Wright was happy with the
decision. Its good for us, Ferreira said by telephone.
Wright, now called Jorge Luis dos Santos after
changing his name, is married to a Portuguese
woman and has two grown children. They have lived near Lisbon since 1993.
Wright spent seven years in a U.S. prison for
gunning down a man during a 1962 gas station
robbery in New Jersey. Wright and others broke
out of prison in 1970. He was among a group that
hijacked a plane in 1972 from the U.S. to Algeria
along with other Black Liberation Army militants.
Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony in West
Africa, granted him political asylum in the 1980s
when it was run by a Marxist government. Wright
then got Portuguese citizenship through his 1991
marriage to a Portuguese woman.
Wright was captured in Portugal after his U.S.
fingerprint matched one in Portugals database of
prints for all citizens, according to U.S. officials.
The daughter of Walter Paterson, the man killed
during the New Jersey holdup, said Wednesday the
latest decision sounded to her like more of the
same though she hadnt learned the details yet.
I would always hope that they would do what is
right, said Ann Patterson, 63, of Howell, New Jersey.
Geoff Mulvihill in Haddonfield, New Jersey, contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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