“Not a day goes by without my staff and I being asked about the welfare of our brother Jacob Ostreicher, who has been detained in a Bolivian prison for no reason since June, 2011,” said Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn). “While we cannot always discuss updates on this very complex and peculiar case, today we are extremely grateful and encouraged that a former member of the Bolivian Ministry of Government has admitted in a Bolivian court to attempting to extort Jacob.”
Fernando Rivera, a former director of the Ministry of Government, currently legal jailed for extortion, said in a probation hearing that he would like to apologize to Ostreicher for what he has done, but that he was “only following orders.” Accused of crimes he didn’t commit, Ostreicher was jailed at the Palmasola Prison in Santa Cruz until recently being released to house arrest in Bolivia. He is still prohibited from returning to his family in Boro Park, New York.
Bolvian media reported that in late November 2012, an extortion network that operated from within the Ministry of Government in collusion with prosecutors had been dismantled. Bolivian media said the extortion network was uncovered in large part because of complaints from official U.S. representatives and the intervention of actor Sean Penn.
“I hope all of you who are concerned for Yanky–for Jacob Ostreicher–will continue praying for his complete freedom and immediate return to his family,” said Assemblyman Hikind. “My staff and I remain in constant touch with Yanky and his wife Miriam. We believe this latest development will be helpful in the international courts and with the United Nations Human Rights Commission.Â We hope that this latest testimony from a former Bolivian official will convince the Bolivian government of Jacob’s complete Â innocence and that we can welcome Jacob home soon.”