U.S. officials and family members are calling for the release of a Seattle man whom they believe has been wrongly imprisoned in Nicaragua.
As Komo News is reporting, Jason Puracal was arrested in November 2010 along with 10 other men on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. Puracal, 34, had been working in Nicaragua for the past nine years as a real estate agent.
The Puracal family has slammed the charges, and believe Jason has been illegally detained. "I'm not going to let my brother sit and rot in prison for 30 years, especially in a Nicaraguan prison," sister Janis tells Komo News, noting that she is concerned Puracal's trial, set to begin in August, will not be fair. Friends and family members have also started a website, "Free Jason P," in support of their cause.
Puracal's case has attracted the attention of some high profile officials, including U.S. Congressman Adam Smith. “In the nearly six months Mr. Puracal has been behind bars, the Nicaraguan authorities have presented no evidence linking him to any crime," Smith was quoted by the New York Daily News as saying in May. "There are also disturbing reports of Mr. Puracal being mistreated and denied medical care while in jail.”
Retired FBI agent Steve Moore, who has previously spoken out in support of jailed U.S. student Amanda Knox, has echoed those sentiments. "Nothing supports the charges against Jason," he is quoted by Reuters as saying. "The state department needs to step in before he is convicted and this escalates into the next American wrongfully-imprisoned overseas media frenzy."
Watch Komo News' full report on Puracal's case here: