On Tuesday, following a meeting with Miriam Unger, the wife of Yanky Ostreicher, Congressman Jerrold Nadler sent the letter below to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
May 21, 2012
The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
Honorable Secretary Clinton:
Today I met with Miriam Unger, the wife of Jacob Ostreicher, a constituent from Borough Park, Brooklyn who has been held in a Bolivian prison for more than a year without being formally charged with a crime. Over the past year, at the request of community leaders and family members, I have requested frequent updates from the State Department regarding Mr. Ostreicher’s condition and his case. While I appreciate the State Department’s efforts thus far to communicate with the Bolivian government regarding his situation, I am troubled that he has still not has the opportunity to defend himself in a court of law.
Mr. Ostreicher has been accused of money laundering and maintains that he has innocent. It is my understanding that only three hearings out of the fifteen that were scheduled so far have actually been held. In addition, the judges have shifted three times, and there is currently no judge assigned to his case. In September 2011, one of these judges issued an opinion that Mr. Ostreicher should be let out on bail, only to reverse this decision soon afterwards. These conditions are preventing Mr. Ostreicher from receiving a fair result in court.
Mr. Ostreicher is being held in Palmosola Prison, a notoriously dangerous facility, and in addition, he has been on a hunger strike since April 15th and is physically weak. His family is understandably very concerned about his well-being. I understand and respect the fact that Bolivia is a sovereign nation with its own legal policies and procedures, but I respectfully request that you directly contact your counterparts in the Bolivian government, and impress upon them the need for the court to hear Mr. Ostreicher’s case so that a fair result can be attained.
Member of Congress