Fugitive George Wright Claims New Identity to Evade Extradition to U.S.

Wright’s lawyer says he became a Portuguese citizen in 1991 after marrying a Portuguese woman and should serve his sentence there.

Posted: 10/01/2011 12:29 PM EDT
Filed Under Crime

George Wright

George Wright is seen in a post office in Praia das Macas, Portugal, in 2000. 

 

The lawyer for captured U.S. fugitive George Wright says that he became a Portuguese citizen, called Jose Luis Jorge dos Santos, in 1991, and has a right to serve his sentence there. The U.S. is trying to extradite Wright to serve the remainder of his sentence for a 1962 murder in New Jersey.

 

Lawyer Manuel Luis Ferreira told Associated Press that Wright's new identity was granted by West African country Guinea-Bissau when it granted him political asylum in the 1980s and was accepted by Portugal. Ferreira insists his client has the right to serve the time in Portugal because he has Portuguese citizenship based on his new identity.

 

While on the lam for 41 years, authorities believed Wright lived freely in Guinea-Bissau for at least two decades, under his real name, and even mingled with U.S. Embassy officials there. Wright was arrested in Portugal on Monday. A fingerprint on his Portuguese ID card led a U.S. fugitive task force to the convicted killer.

 

(Photo: AP Photo)

 

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