Congressman Smith Visits Yanky Ostreicher in Bolivia, Is Denied Entry to Prison

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yanky-ostreicherCongressman Chris Smith traveled to Bolivia yesterday to meet with American businessman Yanky Ostreicher, who has been held in the country for over one year without formal charges and without bail at a dangerous prison run by inmates.

Last Wednesday, the congressional panel Smith chairs gave voice to Yanky’s desperate wife and daughter and heard testimony from a former federal law enforcement agent familiar with the case. (Click here to watch a full video of the hearing.)

Yesterday, upon arrival in Bolivia, Smith was denied entry into the Palmasola Prison where Yanky is incarcerated, but Yanky was permitted to be taken outside the jail to speak to him. Speculation regarding why Smith wasn’t permitted to enter the prison includes fear for the congressman’s safety and the squalid conditions of the jail which Smith would have witnessed.

During the 90-minute meeting, Yanky described to the Congressman what life has been like for him since he was jailed one year ago, and he profusely thanked Mr. Smith for the attention he has brought to the case.

Smith stressed that he has no tolerance for narco-traffickers and is certain, especially in light of the testimony on Capitol Hill last week, that Yanky is innocent and has been imprisoned without reason.

At the hearing last week, Mr. Smith said, “We all must do everything we can to correct the ongoing, extreme injustice being perpetrated against Mr. Ostreicher and secure his freedom as quickly as possible. But this responsibility rests primarily with the U.S. State Department. Our embassy and consular affairs personnel are in country, have direct and regular contact with host government officials, and have access to local information that is of critical importance to the safety and security of our citizens.”

Yanky has been jailed for 375 days.

All are asked to continue davening for Yaakov Yehuda ben Shaindel.

{Casriel Newscenter}


  1. In order to do some hishtadlus i sent an e mail to the Bolivian Embassy in DC. Text below.
    May Hashem bring great yeshuos to this yid and all others who are in dire straits bimhera.amen.

    Your Excellency General Bersatti ,

    I had always had the impression that Bolivia is one of the most impressive countries in South America. So much more am I disappointed at the plight of Mr. Ostereicher who has been incarcerated in Bolivia for a year without any justifiable cause.

    Sir, as the representative of Bolivia in the United States I appeal to you to exert your influence for this citizen of your host country. Let finally justice and fairness prevail and let Mr. Ostereicher return home to his family.

    Respectfully Yours

  2. thank you so much senator smith for all youre amazing work on behalf o f the jewish community keep up the good work

  3. I hope President Obama will say something about this case. It’s time for justice in Bolivia instead of cocaine.


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