Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) made the following statement on Jason Puracal's appeal hearing that began today in Nicaragua,:
"In August 2011, American citizen Jason Puracal was convicted of drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime. I am deeply concerned about the clear flaws in the prosecution of Jason's case and his deteriorating condition. I'm not the only one paying attention. Jason's situation has generated increasing international attention including a report by the United Nations, a congressional letter to President Ortega from a group of 43 lawmakers, and a petition made up of hundreds of family and friends in the US.
"My heart goes out to Jason's family as we continue to fight for Jason to get a chance at a fair trial. Continued vigilance for respect of international law in Jason's case and awareness of Jason's circumstances are vital as we urge the Nicaraguans to reach a just resolution. Unfortunately, Jason's appeal has faced continual delays and I would urge Nicaraguan authorities as the hearings start today to ensure his appeal is heard in an impartial manner. Despite the injustice of Jason's original trial, I am hopeful that a fair ruling can be achieved in his appeal."