Home News Man nabbed after 41 years on the run to fight US extradition

Man nabbed after 41 years on the run to fight US extradition

Published on 29/09/2011

The US man arrested in Portugal this week after 41 years on the run following a prison break and airplane hijacking will fight extradition to the United States, court officials said Thursday.

George Wright, who was arrested on Monday in the coastal town of Almocageme around 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of Lisbon, “will not accept extradition to the United States,” Luis Maria Vaz das Neves, the president of the Lisbon Appeals Court, told AFP.

Wright now has eight days to submit a written request, listing the reasons he does not want to return to his home country and the courts will then have eight days to examine the it before issuing a ruling, he said.

Announcing the arrest of the 68-year-old, the FBI said it was seeking his “extradition from Portugal to serve the remainder of a 15 to 30 year sentence.”

Wright’s wild spree began on November 23, 1962, when he and three associates became involved in a series of armed robberies. During a raid on a New Jersey petrol station, Wright and another man shot dead a World War II veteran.

Wright was arrested soon after and pleaded “no defence.” He and three other men escaped from Bayside State Prison in New Jersey in August 1970.

For two years, Wright disappeared into the Black Liberation Army, a violent group of African American communists. Then on July 31, 1972, he was among five adults who hijacked a Delta flight flying from Detroit to Miami, where they demanded a one million ransom dollar for the passengers.

When this was paid, they forced the plane to fly to Boston where it refuelled and took on another hostage pilot, then crossed the Atlantic to Algeria.

The hijackers sought asylum there. Although the plane and money were seized by the Algerians and returned to the United States, the hijackers were only briefly detained.

The next time the gang hit the headlines was May 1976 when French police captured four of them — though not Wright. Until Monday this week, he managed to remain on the run.

In Portugal he lived under the pseudonym of Jose Luis Jorge dos Santos, married to a Portuguese woman with whom he had two sons who are today 25 and 26.