Congressman Bob Turner (NY-09) released the following statement in light of recent unrest in Bolivia calling on the State Department to take action to save the life of American businessman Jacob Ostreicher who has been held in a Bolivian jail for over a year without formal charges against him.
"The deteriorating conditions in Bolivia have increased the level of urgency for the State Department to act on behalf of Jacob Ostreicher. Recent police strikes and a prison riot have put him in great danger. I am calling on the State Department to convince the Bolivian government to move Jacob to a clinic or medical facility for care and get him out of this increasingly dangerous situation."
The U.S. embassy in Bolivia released a demonstration notice urging American citizens to use caution when traveling in the country due to police strikes. The strikes have sparked a riot within the unguarded jail where Jacob Ostreicher is being held creating an unpredictable and extremely dangerous situation.
Congressman Turner recently appeared on Fox News with Jacob's wife discussing the case. She called on the U.S. Department of State to secure his release during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights hearing.
Last June, Jacob was arrested and sent to Santa Cruz's notoriously dangerous Palmasola prison. In the 12 months that Jacob has been incarcerated, he has been scheduled for more than 20 hearings -all of which have been cancelled- but prosecutors have presented no evidence to back their allegations that he has done anything wrong. Despite numerous letters and petitions from politicians and supporters in the US, there has been no serious attention given to this issue by the Bolivian government, the U.S. State Department, or the Obama administration.