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October 21, 2015

Christie calls for ban of Cuba flights from N.J. until fugitive returned

In a letter on Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie told the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that he opposes the operation of flights between Newark's airport and Cuba, reports.

The letter, addressed to Port Authority Chairman John Degnan, urged Port Authority commissioners to reject the proposed flights. Christie argued that allowing them would equate to "rewarding the Cuban government for continuing to harbor a fugitive."

RELATED ARTICLE: Christie says Pope Francis is wrong about Cuba

The fugitive in question is Joanne [Assata Olugbala Shakur] Chesimard, who escaped to Cuba after being convicted in 1977 of killing a New Jersey state trooper and has been living in the country since.

"I understand that the Port Authority is considering a request to open regular flights between Cuba and Newark Liberty International Airport," the governor and Republican presidential candidate wrote in the letter, obtained by NJ Advance Media. "It is unacceptable to me as governor to have any flights between New Jersey and Cuba until, and unless, convicted cop-killer and escaped fugitive Joanne Chesimard is returned to New Jersey to face justice."

Speaking with CNN's Jake Tapper last month, Christie reinforced his position that the U.S. should not have opened up diplomatic ties with Cuba because of the country "harboring fugitives."

He has repeatedly criticized the Obama administration for trying to open up the long silence between the two nations.

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