2109 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) denounced the Bolivian case against Jacob Ostreicher and called for his immediate release. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Nadler called the Bolivian conduct around the case “a serious miscarriage of justice,” and again called on the Administration to push Bolivian authorities to provide justice for Mr. Ostreicher. Nadler previously participated in a congressional hearing on the case and wrote letters to Bolivian and U.S. officials calling for due process rights for Mr. Ostreicher, who is a constituent.
“For too long, Mr. Ostreicher has been denied due process, and now the stark fact is that his continued imprisonment is in violation of Bolivian law,” wrote Nadler. “In addition, seven Bolivian officials have been arrested and charged with deliberately conspiring to rob and extort Mr. Ostreicher. These arrests raise serious doubts about the merits of the money laundering charges against him. Mr. Ostreicher must be immediately released on bail, there must be a full examination into the merits of his case, and those who have been charged with crimes against him should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Below and attached are the full text of Nadler’s letter:
The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
December 13, 2012
Dear Secretary Clinton:
I am writing regarding my constituent, Jacob Ostreicher, who has been imprisoned in Bolivia since June of 2011, and whose treatment by Bolivian authorities constitutes a serious miscarriage of justice. He has now been imprisoned for 18 months, which under Bolivian law is the maximum amount of time a prisoner can be held without being formally charged or released. For too long, Mr. Ostreicher has been denied due process, and now the stark fact is that his continued imprisonment is in violation of Bolivian law. In addition, seven Bolivian officials have been arrested and charged with deliberately conspiring to rob and extort Mr. Ostreicher. These arrests raise serious doubts about the merits of the money laundering charges against him. Mr. Ostreicher must be immediately released on bail, there must be a full examination into the merits of his case, and those who have been charged with crimes against him should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Over the past year, at the request of community leaders and family members, I have asked for and received frequent updates from the State Department regarding Mr. Ostreicher’s condition and his case. As you know, Mr. Ostreicher is being held in Palmosola Prison, a notoriously dangerous facility. He is health is very poor, and he has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It is also my understanding that judges have continually shifted, and that hearings have often been postponed. In September 2011, a judge issued an opinion that Mr. Ostreicher should be let out on bail, only to reverse this decision soon afterwards. Subsequently he has been denied in his repeated attempts to be released on bail, the most recent denial coming on December 11. The judge who issued the September 2011 decision and a Bolivian prosecutor have both been brought on charges of extorting and robbing Mr. Ostreicher, and yet, Mr. Ostreicher continues to sit in jail, which is a terribly unjust situation.
I appreciate the State Department’s efforts thus far to communicate with the Bolivian government regarding Mr. Ostreicher’s situation, and I understand and respect the fact that Bolivia is a sovereign nation with its own legal policies and procedures. However, I respectfully request that the Department of State contact counterparts in the Bolivian government as soon as possible, and impress upon them once again the fact that now more than ever, justice is being denied to Mr. Ostreicher, and he must be released immediately. I have also, along with my colleagues, written a letter to the Bolivian government demanding that Jacob Ostreicher be afforded his basic rights and released without further delay. We must make it absolutely clear that we will not stand for an American citizen being denied his basic rights.
Member of Congress