As reported by Change.org, Jason Puracal is an American who’s right now fighting for his life in a Nicaraguan prison called La Modela — known to be one of the world’s most dangerous jails — after being convicted of crimes many people say he didn’t commit.
Just four years earlier, in the same Nicaraguan courtroom, another American named Eric Volz was also convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. He spent 14 months in the same notorious prison fighting for his own life. Eric was released from prison after public pressure in the U.S. pushed the State Department to take action — and the same day the U.S. government spoke out, Eric was free.
Now Eric is fighting to free Jason from the same fate he faced. Eric knows from experience — like no one else — the stakes that Jason faces in La Modelaprison. He hopes a similar public outcry can set Jason free. Eric started a petition on Change.org asking U.S. officials to pressure Nicaragua to release Jason Puracal from prison.
Jason came to Nicaragua as a Peace Corps volunteer in 2002. He fell in love with the country, met his future wife, and stayed there to build a family and a small business.
Jason’s been behind bars for his son’s last two birthdays, in a prison cell where a hole in the corner is both his sink and his toilet. He says he doesn’t belong in prison — and so do former FBI and DEA officials who say he’s innocent, including Tom Cash, a former Drug Enforcement Agency Director who chased drug lords like Pablo Escobar. And they know that Jason Puracal is no Pablo Escobar.
The crimes that Jason was convicted of — drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime — were decided in one of the world’s most corrupt court systems. During Jason’s trial, prosecutors couldn’t present any drugs, money, or connections to drug traffickers.
It didn’t matter, Eric says: in a quick, closed-door trial, Jason was convicted and sentenced to 22 years behind bars. Jason’s doing everything he can to get out of prison and get back to his once-normal life — and Eric Volz is helping Jason make that happen.
What Jason needs now, says Eric, is a huge outcry to force action by the U.S. to help free Jason, just like how Eric was set free. Click here to sign Eric’s petition to free Jason Puracal from a Nicaraguan prison.