PORTUGAL: US ASKS TO REVIEW AMERICAN FUGITIVE CASE
|A 1963 arrest photo of George Wright
January 13, 2012: the United States asked Portugal's Supreme Court to review its refusal to extradite American fugitive George Wright, a U.S. Department of Justice official said.
Portuguese police captured Wright in September 2011, 41 years after he escaped from a U.S. prison where he was serving a sentence for murder. He had been living in Portugal since 1993 after a spell in Africa and other European countries.
A Lisbon court denied an initial U.S. extradition request in November 2011 and freed Wright, prompting the U.S. to appeal to the country's Supreme Court.
But the higher court disallowed the appeal in December on procedural grounds.
Department of Justice spokesperson Laura Sweeney said in an email to the AP the U.S. has asked the court to review what she said was a "preliminary ruling."
Wright, now called Jorge Luis dos Santos after changing his name, is married to a Portuguese woman and has two grown children.
The lower court judge had ruled that Wright, 68, had become a Portuguese citizen and that the statute of limitations on his 15- to 30-year sentence for a robbery-murder in New Jersey had expired.
Wright spent seven years in a U.S. prison for the murder before breaking out in 1970.
He and others then 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. (Sources: The Associated Press, 14/01/2012)