Nicaragua frees US citizen Jason Puracal after appeal

Jason Puracal at his appeals hearing on 12 September 2012 Jason Puracal had maintained his innocence all along

Related Stories

A US national who spent two years in prison in Nicaragua has been freed and allowed to leave the country, a spokesman for his family says.

Jason Puracal was found guilty of drug trafficking and money laundering in 2011 and sentenced to 22 years in jail.

Human rights groups had long maintained his prosecution had been unjust.

On Wednesday, an appeals court ordered his release, arguing that his defence had not been allowed to introduce evidence in his favour.

Mr Puracal, 35, had been living in Nicaragua since serving as a Peace Corps volunteer there in 2002.

His family said he had been working as an estate agent and had come under suspicion for handling large sums related to property purchases, which police mistakenly believed came from illicit sources.

Prosecutors argued that he used the property purchases as a front to launder drugs money. Last year he and 10 Nicaraguan co-defendants were found guilty and handed long sentences.

After pressure from US officials and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, an appeals court opened a hearing into the case.

On Wednesday, it ruled that the judge had stopped defence lawyers from introducing crucial evidence, and ordered the release of all the defendants.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Latin America & Caribbean stories

RSS

Features

  • Shinji Mikamo's father's watchTime peace

    The story of the watch that survived Hiroshima


  • Northern League supporters at the party's annual meeting in 2011Padania?

    Eight places in Europe that also want independence


  • Elephant Diaries - BBCGoing wild

    Wildlife film-makers reveal the tricks of the trade


  • Hamas rally in the West Bank village of Yatta, 2006Hamas hopes

    Why the Palestinian group won't back down yet


  • A woman dining aloneTable for one

    The restaurants that love solo diners


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.