Federal Way Mirror


Jason Puracal files petition against Nicaraguan government

September 16, 2013 · 6:04 PM

Jason Puracal was found guilty of money laundering, drug trafficking and organized crime by a Nicaraguan court on Aug. 29, 2011. He was released in September 2012. / Courtesy photo

Mirror staff reports:

Jason Puracal, the local man who spent the better part of two years of his life falsely imprisoned in a Nicaraguan prison, filed a "far-reaching" petition Sept. 16 with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The petition marks Puracal's one-year anniversary of coming home to the United States. It was prepared by the International Human Rights Clinic at Seattle University of Law, according to a news release, and "demands a stop to ongoing abuses by the Government of Nicaragua and redress for the many rights violations suffered by Puracal and his family."

Puracal's nightmare began in 2010, when he was illegally detained by the Nicaraguan government on false drug trafficking charges. He was sent to the infamous La Modelo prison and suffered a number of injustices at the hands of his captors.

In September 2011, Puracal was severely burned by a pot of boiling water that he and other inmates were preparing because of the unsanitary conditions of the drinking water in the prison. Puracal's mother, Daisy, made an emergency trip that month to care for his wounds.

Puracal's situation in Nicaragua was brought to light by his sister, Janice, a Seattle-based lawyer, and garnered national and international attention.

According to Puracal's family, the government of Nicaragua is still continuing the case against Puracal, with the government petitioning its own Supreme Court to reinstate his 22-year sentence.

"Nicaragua gravely mistreats its prison population and defies basic due process guarantees," said Thomas Antkowiak, a professor in international law who was instrumental in putting together Puracal's current petition against Nicaragua. "The State of Nicaragua has left us no choice but to call on international legal institutions."

Puracal says "there are many others, including other Americans, detained at La Modelo without evidence." In his two-year stay, Puracal said he and his fellow inmates suffered from denial of food, water and medical care.

"I continue to have nightmares about that place and the suffering that was all around me," he added.

Puracal hopes the petition will shed light on the issues of prisoners in Nicaragua. He hopes his fears that "many of the others left at La Modelo will die from starvation and disease" can be avoided.

While it has not been updated since it's release, the website freejasonp.com has an extensive history of Puracal's Central American nightmare.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-District 9) was among the American officials to express concern over Puracal’s situation, and expressed his dissatisfaction with the situation. Smith's district includes the Federal Way area.

“They presented no evidence of a crime here," Smith had said in a previous report. "They have simply kidnapped and held him for a period of time — not in compliance with international law nor Nicaraguan law.”


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