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Why, after so many years, would the FBI decide to place a 65-year old activist on it’s most wanted terrorists list? People are asking this question about Assata Shakur, a former Black Panther who has been able to evade authorities for the last 40 years. Her conviction for allegedly killing a police officer and wounding another has long been called into question and she has garnered a tremendous amount of public support, particularly within the black community.
A group has filed a petition on behalf of Shakur, asking that President Barack Obama form a panel to do an unbiased investigation. The group says that, despite the scant evidence that Shakur actually shot anyone, the authorities insist on pursuing her.
This week, the Newark, New Jersey FBI office named Shakur to the “Most Wanted Terrorists” List, despite the fact that she hasn’t harmed anyone in over 40 years. The group also announced a $2 million dollar reward for her capture, drawing the attention of bounty hunters around the world.
In the petition, filed with Change.org, the group is asking that Shakur be left alone by the authorities:
“She’s been living in political assylum in Cuba, unable to return to the United States for fear of being killed or imprisoned. We must strike a blow for justice by fighting this ongoing campaign to smear her name and unfairly imprison her,” the petition states.
In their letter to the president, the group is asking President Obama to do the following:
1. Launch a federal and state investigation to determine the validity of Ms. Shakur’s initial conviction and prison sentence