Lisbon: An American killer and alleged
hijacker who was a fugitive for 41 years should serve the rest
of his jail time in Portugal where he was captured instead of
being extradited to the United States, his lawyer says.
George Wright, 68, deserves to serve the remainder of his
15-to 30-year sentence in Portugal because he has lived in the
country for decades, has a Portuguese wife and grown
Portuguese children, said the lawyer, Manuel Luis Ferreira.
"If he has to serve, then he wants it to be here, which
is his home," Ferreira told Portugal's TVI television late
Ferreira did not outline his legal strategy for trying to
prevent Wright from being extradited to face charges in the
hijacking, and did not return messages left Friday at his
office seeking comment.
Hijacking in the United States carries a possible penalty
of life in prison, and Portugal does not allow people to be
extradited if they will face more than the nation's maximum
sentence of 25 years.
Wright broke out of the Bayside State Prison in Leesburg,
New Jersey, on Aug. 19, 1970 after serving eight years for
killing a man in a gas station robbery.
He was captured in a seaside village near Lisbon this
week after authorities matched his fingerprint on a Portuguese
identity card to one in the United States.
Under Portuguese law, citizens can serve sentences handed
down in a foreign country in Portugal.
However, Portuguese officials say there is doubt about
the validity of Wright's identification documents and whether
he is a national. They declined to provide details because
public access to information about court cases is restricted.
First Published: Friday, September 30, 2011, 23:26