US hopeful for extradition of FBI's 'most wanted' woman

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U.S. Hopeful For Extradition Of FBI's 'Most Wanted' Woman

While many are celebrating the warming ties between the U.S. and Cuba, one woman might not be so happy.

Joanne Chesimard, who changed her name to Assata Shakur, was a member of the Black Liberation Army in 1973 when she was involved in a shootout with police in New Jersey. One trooper was killed, and Shakur was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

But two years after her conviction, she escaped with the help of some of her activist friends and fled to Cuba. Former President Fidel Castro granted her asylum in 1984, and she's remained in the country ever since. She became the first woman to make it onto the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist list.

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Assata Shakur America's most wanted woman
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US hopeful for extradition of FBI's 'most wanted' woman
FILE - This is an undated file photo provided by the New Jersey State Police showing Assata Shakur - the former Joanne Chesimard. Shakur, 57, was convicted in 1973 of killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster as he lay on the ground. She escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba. The FBI announced Thursday, May 2, 2013 that the reward for the capture and return of Chesimard doubled to $2 million. The FBI also announced it has made Chesimard, now living in Cuba as Assata Shakur, the first woman on its list of most wanted terrorists. (AP Photo/New Jersey State Police, File)
A poster with photographs of Joanne Chesimard, a fugitive for more than 30 years, is on display during a news conference giving updates on the search of Chesimard, Thursday, May 2, 2013, in Newark, N.J. The reward for the capture and return of convicted murderer Chesimard, one of New Jersey’s most notorious fugitives, was doubled to $2 million Thursday on the 40th anniversary of the violent confrontation that led to the slaying of a New Jersey state trooper. The FBI also announced it has made Chesimard, now living in Cuba as Assata Shakur, the first woman on its list of most wanted terrorists. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, stands next to posters during a news conference giving updates on the search of Joanne Chesimard, a fugitive for more than 30 years, Thursday, May 2, 2013, in Newark, N.J. The reward for the capture and return of convicted murderer Chesimard, one of New Jersey’s most notorious fugitives, was doubled to $2 million Thursday on the 40th anniversary of the violent confrontation that led to the slaying of a New Jersey state trooper. The FBI also announced it has made Chesimard, now living in Cuba as Assata Shakur, the first woman on its list of most wanted terrorists. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Black Liberation Army member Joanne Chesimard leaves Middlesex County courthouse after Superior Court Judge Theodore Appleby added a 26 to 33 year sentence to life term she is serving for the murder of a state trooper in New Brunswick, N.J., April 25, 1977. Chesimard, of Cuba, escaped from prison in 1979 and claims her innocence. (AP Photo)
FILE - A Monday, May 2, 2005 file photo shows New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster, who was killed during a stop on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973. Sundiata Acoli then known as Clark Edward Squire and Joanne Chesimard were convicted of the murder of Trooper Foerster, but Chesimard escaped prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba, living there under the name Assata Shakur. In a ruling published Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, a New Jersey appeals court has ordered the state parole board to release Sundiata Acoli, who was convicted in the shooting death more than four decades ago. He has been in jail since then and was denied parole most recently in 2011. (AP Photo/Tim Larsen, File)
Col. Rick Fuentes, right, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, stands next to New Jersey Attorney Gen. Jeffrey Chiesa during a news conference giving updates on the search for Joanne Chesimard, a fugitive for more than 30 years, Thursday, May 2, 2013, in Newark, N.J. The reward for the capture and return of convicted murderer Chesimard, one of New Jersey’s most notorious fugitives, was doubled to $2 million Thursday on the 40th anniversary of the violent confrontation that led to the slaying of a New Jersey state trooper. The FBI also announced it has made Chesimard, now living in Cuba as Assata Shakur, the first woman on its list of most wanted terrorists. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Atmosphere during 'Assata Shakur is Welcome Here' Public Demonstration Hosted by Talib and Mos Def at City Hall in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
Guest and Martin Luther during 'Assata Shakur is Welcome Here' Public Demonstration Hosted by Talib and Mos Def at City Hall in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
Mos Def and Martin Luther (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
Mos Def (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
Atmosphere during 'Assata Shakur is Welcome Here' Public Demonstration Hosted by Talib and Mos Def at City Hall in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 01: JoAnne Chesimard, member of the Black Liberation Army. Police wanted poster for Bank Robbery, 17th Robbery Squad, attempted murder 2 members of the police 104th precinct, investigation homicide 2 members of the force 9th precinct, bank robbery, 8th robbery squad, robbery, kidnapping, 13th robbery squad. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 03: Cops using everthing from the most sophisticated gadgets to old-fashioned canines crowd side of Jersey Turnpike, where Coston died and JoAnne was captured. Police vehicles pinch traffic to crawl. JoAnne Deborah Chesimard, 25, a fugitive suspect in cop killngs and bank stickups, was caught after gun battle on the New Jersey Turnpike yesterday. She was sounded and a copanion, James Coston, was killed. A second man fled after the battle in which a Jersey trooper was killed and another was wounded only 200 yards from troooper headquarters. Cops had stopped JoAnne and friends for speeding. (Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 28: JoAnne Chesimard is escorted from Middlesex County Jail. (Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 29: In a caravan of eight cars bearing heavily armed state police and county officers, JoAnne Chesimard, the reputed 'soul' of the Black Liberation Army, was taken chained handcuffs and leg irons from Riker's Island prison in New York City ot the Middlesex County jail to await trail in the murder of state trooper Werner Foerster. (Photo by Frank Hurley/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
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Federal and state authorities have tried to get Shakur extradited. They've even sought help from Pope John Paul II and offered a $2 million reward for any information leading to her arrest.

And with President Obama's announcement on easing relations in Cuba, officials say they remain "ever hopeful."

But legal experts say extraditions from either country aren't guaranteed because of certain provisions included in the extradition treaty that went into force in 1905 and was never revoked.

A former Army attorney told Al Jazeera that a decision on whether to request her extradition will be a, quote, "potentially awkward test of our newfound relationship with Cuba ... for how normal our relations are getting and how quickly."

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