November 18, 2011- A Portuguese court ruled that American George Wright could not be extradited to the U.S. Wright is wanted in the U.S. for escaping from prison and for hijacking a plane. Wright was arrested in Portugal this past September after hiding for close to forty years.
Wright was pleased with the court’s decision. The court also lifted his house arrest so he is therefore free to go where he pleases without any restrictions. The appeals court decided in favor of Wright on all of the arguments his lawyer presented them. His lawyer argued Wright should not be extradited since he is now a Portuguese citizen and his health is declining. He also said the statue of limitations on his case had expired.
The decision made by the appeals court can be appealed to the Supreme Court in Portugal, if the U.S. should choose to do so. The U.S. State Department released a statement saying they were very disappointed with the decision the court took.
The statement said, “Wright has been convicted of murder and that falls within the required terms of the bilateral extradition treaty the U.S. has with Portugal.”
Wright escaped in 1970 from prison while serving a murder sentence. In 1972, he hijacked a plane bound for Miami, to Algeria. Since that time, he has remained at large. Wright is married to a Portuguese woman and they have two sons.