U.S. Congress urges Nicaragua's Ortega to review Puracal caseon May 10, 2012 @ 10:50 am (Updated: 12:21 pm - 5/10/12 )
The letter to President Daniel Ortega was signed by 43 members of Congress, including Representative Adam Smith of Washington, who has demanded that the government show evidence of Jason Puracal's guilt or set him free.
Puracal, 35, is a University of Washington graduate who originally moved to Central America as a member of the Peace Corps. He was arrested in November 2010 at his home in San Juan del Sur.
Nicaraguan National Police claim he laundered drug money through his real estate franchise in the seaside village, and Puracal was subsequently convicted of drug trafficking and money laundering. He was sentenced to 22 years in La Modelo, a dilapidated prison on the outskirts of Managua.
"We wish to convey our serious concern about the trial and appeal of American citizen, Jason Puracal," reads the letter, dated May 9, 2012. It argues that Puracal was denied due process and is being held in a prison that does not meet internationally accepted standards of human rights.
" ... there is a compelling need for a thorough and objective prosecutorial review of Mr. Puracal's case to determine his innocence under Nicaraguan law," the letter reads.
Pressure appears to be mounting for the Nicaraguan government in the case, as the California Innocence Project has taken on the fight to free Puracal, and an online petition at Change.org has garnered more than 85,000 signatures.
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