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Letter to General Barsatti

Letter

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Date:
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U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand and U.S. Representatives Jerry Nadler and Nydia Velazquez today urged the Bolivian government to provide Jacob Ostreicher, an American citizen and Brooklyn resident who is currently being detained in Bolivia, an opportunity to post bail and to guarantee him a fair, transparent and prompt trial in light of his deteriorating health and in accordance with basic standards of due process. Ostreicher was arrested on Friday, June 3, 2011, and since that time has not been granted bail or a trial. Schumer, Gillibrand, Nadler and Velazquez today, in a letter to the Bolivian ambassador to the United States, called for Ostreicher to be allowed to post bail and for a fair, transparent, and prompt trail.

"Jacob Ostreicher deserves a quick and fair trial, especially in light of his deteriorating health," said Schumer. "In accordable with basic standards of due process and human rights, I strongly urge the Bolivian government to stop holding Jacob without bail and without a trial and move quickly to ensure that his case is handled quickly. We have met with his family and are in constant contact with the State Department to advocate for him and monitor his condition. But there is no reason he should not be offered bail while he awaits his trial."

"I recently met with Miriam Ungar and I am deeply concerned about her husband's health and the mistreatment of Mr. Ostreicher being held without basic due process. It is time for the Bolivian government to allow him to post bail and present his defense to refute these charges in a fair court hearing without any further delay," said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

"It is very troubling that Jacob Ostreicher has been held in prison for almost a year, and still has not had the opportunity to defend himself in a court of law," said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. "I appeal to the Bolivian government to act now and give him a fair hearing and a reasonable opportunity to post bail. Due process and basic human rights demand nothing less."

"Jacob Ostreicher deserves the opportunity to prove his innocence. The Bolivian government should immediately grant him bail and a fair, swift trial," said Congresswoman Velazquez.

Ostreicher's detention is related to accusations of illegal profiting and association with criminal organizations. Ostreicher was preliminarily charged on June 4, 2011, and initially detained in a temporary holding facility at the Santa Cruz offices of the federal counternarcotics police. In accordance with a June 4 judicial decision, Mr. Ostreicher was transferred to the Palmasolas prison in Santa Cruz. Since then, Ostreicher's health has deteriorated causing considerable concern for his physical well-being.

Schumer, Gillibrand, Nadler and Velazquez today, in a letter to Bolivan Ambassador to the United States General Freddy Bersatti, urged the Bolivian government to provide Mr. Ostreicher an opportunity to post bail and make every possible effort to guarantee a fair, transparent and prompt trial. Schumer noted that doing so would be in accordable with basic standards of due process and human rights.

A copy of Schumer's letter is below.

Dear General Barsatti:

We write to express our concern regarding an American citizen, Jacob Ostreicher, currently being detained in the Palmasolas prison in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Mr. Ostreicher, a husband and father, is a constituent of ours from Brooklyn, New York. He joined a group of Swiss partners in an agriculture venture and traveled to Bolivia in 2010 to take over management duties. He was arrested on Friday, June 3, 2011, and in September, he was to be released on bail, but the judge subsequently and unfortunately revoked his decision. Since that time it appears that his health has deteriorated causing considerable concern for his physical well-being. Last month, Mr. Ostreicher began a hunger strike to protest what is a precarious and unjust situation.

In light of this, and in accordance with basic standards of due process and human rights, we respectfully request that the Government of Bolivia provide Mr. Ostreicher a fair opportunity to post bail and make every possible effort to guarantee a fair, transparent and prompt trial.

As you may be aware, Mr. Ostreicher's detention is related to accusations of illegal profiting and association with criminal organizations. We understand that Mr. Ostreicher was preliminarily charged on June 4, 2011, and initially detained in a temporary holding facility at the Santa Cruz offices of the federal counternarcotics police. In accordance with a June 4 judicial decision, Mr. Ostreicher was transferred to the Palmasolas prison in Santa Cruz. It is our understanding that the United States Department of State has been in direct communication with the Bolivian government regarding Mr. Ostreicher's case and we are appreciative of this continued dialogue. While we remain appreciative of the access the Government of Bolivia has provided American State Department officials, it is evident that Mr. Ostreicher's health has deteriorated over time and that bail, in anticipation of a speedy trial, is warranted in this case.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer

U.S. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand

U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler

U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velazquez


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