The U.S. Justice Department says it has appealed a Portuguese judge's decision not to extradite longtime fugitive George Wright back to the United States.

Spokeswoman Laura Sweeney says an appeal was filed with the Portuguese Court of Appeals requesting the return of Wright, who is wanted to serve the rest of a murder sentence and has admitted that he hijacked a plane from the United States to Algeria.

Sweeney declined Tuesday to give additional details about the U.S. appeal. Extradition cases in Portugal are conducted in secret.

The Portuguese judge denied Wright's extradition on Nov. 17. Wright spent 41 years on the lam on three continents.

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