Joanne Chesimard Named FBI Most Wanted Terrorist; First Woman to Make List

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The FBI put a woman, Joanne Chesimard (also known as Assata Shakur), on its Most Wanted Terrorists list for the first time in history Thursday.

A '70s radical who authorities say murdered a New Jersey state trooper, Chesimard made a daring daylight escape from prison and fled to Cuba.

The agency and the state have a $2 million bounty on her capture.

Joanne Chesimard (Assata Shakur) Photo

Chesimard is actually the step-aunt of late rapper Tupac Shakur.

It's just the latest turn in the 40-year saga of Chesimard, who was part of the Black Liberation Army and one of the most notorious fugitives in U.S. history.

“While we cannot right the wrongs of the past, we can and will continue to pursue justice no matter how long it takes,” said Aaron Ford of the FBI.

To Chesimard, he said: “Give yourself up, come to America and face justice.”

Chesimard was found guilty of murder in the killing of Trooper Werner Foerster, who was shot dead on May 2, 1973, after stopping her and two associates.

The trooper was finished off with his own gun, and the FBI says Chesimard’s gun was found at his side. She was convicted in 1977 and sent to prison.

However, she broke out of there two years later with the help of accomplices from the BLA and the Weather Underground, a left-wing radical organization.

Chesimard lived in safehouses before fleeing to Cuba, where she took the Shakur name and was shielded from the U.S. by the communist government.

She is now 65.

Authorities took note Thursday of the 40th anniversary of the trooper’s killing and said Chesimard’s capture would offer closure to the New Jersey State Police.

In Cuba, Chesimard has mostly disappeared from the public eye. Her story gained prominence again in 1998, when Pope John Paul II made a visit there.

There, a TV reporter found Joanne Chesimard, who claimed she was the victim of a racist prosecution. U.S. and N.J. officials were absolutely furious.

Officials called for her extradition, but frosty relations between the U.S. and Cuba have frustrated any American efforts to get her back ever since.

New Jersey's Attorney General would not confirm reports that he is encouraging Cuban bounty hunters to capture her, but confirmed the $2 million reward.

Chesimard is the first woman and 46th person overall on the list of most wanted terrorists since President George W. Bush established it after 9/11.

Until Osama bin Laden died in 2011, he topped the list.

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