Human Rights Voices

While the UN devotes its human rights operations to the demonization of the democratic state of Israel above all others and condemns the United States more often than the vast majority of non-democracies around the world, the voices of real victims around the world must be heard.

Nicaragua, December 22, 2011

Jason Puracal case heads to appeal in Nicaragua

Original source

My North

It is the only good news the family of Jason Puracal has heard in more than a year: the Tacoma-man and University of Washington graduate will plead his case before a three judge appellate panel in Granada, Nicaragua.

The appeals court received the case Thursday, a development that takes Puracal's fate out of the hands of the judge who convicted him of drug trafficking and money laundering in September.

"We're going in brand new," said Puracal's sister, Janis. "Now we expect that with these three appellate court judges, that they will take an objective look at this case and realize what a horrible, horrible injustice has happened here."

Puracal's family called it "the first step in the next chapter of our fight to free Jason," but they are concerned with how long the appeal process may take.

"And that's going to be our next fight," Janis said. "Because the appeals court has such a backlog in Nicaragua that for some defendants, their appeals last more than a year." Puracal, 34, was sentenced to 22 years in a Nicaraguan prison in September, after spending nine months awaiting trial behind bars.

He told 97.3 KIRO FM in August that he has been wrongly imprisoned.

"It's like something out of a movie," Puracal said in handcuffs inside a courthouse in Rivas, Nicaragua. "Anybody who's ever met me will tell you what kind of person I am and will tell you that it's not in my nature. I wouldn't be involved with any of the things that I'm accused of."

Puracal was convicted of laundering drug money though his real estate office in San Juan del Sur, where he moved after joining the Peace Corp.