The Newark, NJ field office of the FBI recently named political activist Assata Shakur to its "Most Wanted Terrorists" List and announced a $2 million award for assisting in her capture. Ms. Shakur was falsely accused of murder to begin with, due to her political beliefs. This 65 year-old fighter for freedom and justice has been the unfair target of manhunts and harrassment by the FBI for 40 years! She's been living in political assylum in Cuba, unable to return to the United States for fear of being killed or imprisoned. We must strike a blow for justice by fighting this ongoing campaign to smear her name and unfairly imprison her.
- United States President
- The Congressional Black Caucus
On May 2, 1973, Assata Shakur, then known as Joanne Chesimard, was convicted of the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster.
Her arrest and conviction was upheld despite the fact that forensic evidence proved Ms. Shakur could not have killed the Trooper. Shakur was shot in the back with her hands up. The bullet went through her back and shattered her clavicle. At that point, she was physically unable to raise her hand, much less shoot a gun. Additionally, no gun residue was found on her hands or her person. Despite this overwhelming evidence, Ms. Shakur was then sentenced to life in prison.
In 1979, (fearing for her life ) Ms. Shakur escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in Clinton, New Jersey and later arrived in Cuba where she has since lived, as a professor, advocate for social justice and human rights and political exile.
On Thursday, May 2 2013, Aaron Ford, special agent of the FBI’s Newark, New Jersey office announced that Ms. Shakur was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist’s List, (Shakur is the first woman in history so designated) and that the reward for assistance in her capture was doubled to $2 million. At this press conference, Ford mentioned that “While there is no new threat from Chesimard, she is considered a "domestic terrorist.”
This new decree, announced some 40 years after initial her arrest, gives open license and motivation for Cuban residents or anyone else to abduct Ms. Shakur and deliver her to Federal authorities to answer for crimes she did not commit. In effect, Ms. Shakur committed no crimes. The crimes in fact were committed against her.
In an effort to remedy this clear and shameful miscarriage of justice, we concerned citizens of America and humanity make the following specific demands:
1. Launch a federal and state investigation to determine the validity of Ms. Shakur's initial conviction and prison sentence
2. Rescind Ms. Shakur's status as a "terrorist."
3. Terminate any bounty or "reward" for assisting in her capture.
4. Exonerate Ms. Shakur of ALL criminal charges and the need to serve the remainder of her (unjust) prison sentence.
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