Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) is urging kindred spirits concerned with human rights violations to stage a “virtual rally” on Wednesday, August 1, with calls to the State Department demanding freedom for Jacob Ostreicher, a Brooklyn resident who has been held without formal charges in a Bolivian prison for 15 months. Assemblyman Hikind hopes the 35,000+ people who signed a petition to the White House on behalf of Ostreicher will pick up the phone and demand that the State Department intervene on Ostreicher’s behalf. The Assemblyman suggested that calls coincide with a meeting by the Subcommittee on Human Rights, which is scheduled for today at 2:00 p.m. The committee is meeting specifically to “Seek Freedom for American Trapped in Bolivian Prison.”
Assemblyman Hikind had high praise for Congressman Chris Smith (R- New Jersey), chairman of the Subcommittee. “Congressman Smith has given Jacob Ostreicher’s inhuman treatment at the hands of the Bolivian government more than lip service,” said the Assemblyman. “Not only has Congressman Smith visited Jacob in Bolivia, but he also continues to urge the State Department not to forget that a U.S. citizen has been all but abandoned to injustice in Bolivia. I urge everyone to call the State Department today, and to continue to urge elected officials to adopt Jacob’s cause as their own. We cannot rest while this man languishes in prison; we cannot let Jacob Ostreicher be forgotten.”
In December 2010, Jacob Ostreicher traveled to Bolivia to oversee an agricultural enterprise and was arrested on June 4, 2011 for suspicion of money laundering and criminal organization. Ostreicher was brought before a judge who after several hearings ordered Ostreicher’s release on September 23, 2011, however the judge reversed his decision a week later. Since that time, numerous judges have been asked by the Bolivian government to recuse themselves from the case and multiple hearings have been adjourned.
A rally led by Assemblyman Hikind was held for Ostreicher in front of the Bolivian Mission in New York City on May 3, 2012. Since that time, more than 35,000 people signed an online petition on the White House We the People website requesting the Obama Administration to assist in the effort to free Jacob Ostreicher.
The State Department can be reached at 202-647-4000.