Tupac's aunt Joanne Chesimard first woman on FBI terror list

May 3, 2013

Convicted killer and former Black Liberation Army member wanted after fleeing to Cuba

JOANNE CHESIMARD, godmother and step-aunt of late rap icon Tupac Shakur, has become the first woman to be added to the FBI's most wanted list of terrorists.

Chesimard, now known as Assata Shakur, is classified as a "domestic terrorist" and wanted for the "execution-style" murder of a New Jersey state trooper 40 years ago. The FBI today doubled the reward for the 65-year-old's capture to $2 million.

A former member of the underground militant organisation the Black Liberation Army, Chesimard killed state trooper Werner Foerster in 1973 after he and a colleague stopped her and two friends over a motor vehicle violation. Both Foerster and one of Chesimard's friends died in the ensuing gun battle. She was convicted of Foerster's murder in 1977 but escaped from prison two years later, fleeing to Cuba.

Some argue Chesimard, whose brother was Tupac Shakur's stepfather, was the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Attorney Ron Kuby, who interviewed her in Cuba in 1987, said he believed she did not get a fair trial. "Let's not overstate the contours of this. Assata Shakur was the embodiment of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army at a time when there was a low-intensity war between black radicals and the US," he told Reuters.

But special agent Aaron Ford told journalists the FBI would not rest until she is captured. "While living openly and freely in Cuba she continues to maintain and promote her terrorist ideology," he added.

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