Former AG of Canada Intervenes in Jason Puracal Case in Nicaragua

Eric Volz

This article was written and submitted by Eric Volz.  Volz is the managing director of The David House Agency – a U.S.- based, strategic resource organization supporting individuals facing injustice abroad. Their expertise lies in managing cases in which political and cultural undertones complicate the judicial process. Other cases in which he and his organization have been involved in include: Amanda Knox and Rafaelli Solecito (Italy), The Hikers (Iran), Jason Puracal (Nicaragua), Amir Hekmati (Iran), as well as international child custody and parental kidnapping matters.  Volz is also the author of Gringo Nightmare.  Visit his website here.

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The wrongful conviction of Jason Puracal in Nicaragua is monumental and serves as a chilling milestone in the emerging trend of international “show” trials.  This case has serious implications for citizens of the Global North studying, working, traveling, or retiring abroad.
[Editor's note:  To become introduced to the case, you can watch this introductory video, visit the official website, or see our prior post by Justin Brooks....]
In short, 10 years ago, Jason Puracal moved to Nicaragua to serve in the Peace Corp. He fell in love with the country, its people, and the woman that would become his wife. Today, he is struggling to survive the fight of his life. He has been held in a Nicaraguan prison since November 2010 on sham charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime. There is no evidence linking him to any crimes. Held for over nine months in subhuman conditions before he went to trial, this September he was convicted and sentenced to 22-years in prison – by a “judge” was not even a licensed attorney, in violation with Nicaraguan and international law. (click to see Jason Z. Puracal v. Government of Nicaragua)

Jason Puracal with family

While he waits his appeal, he is slowly dying in prison. He has been denied food, water, and proper medical care. He suffered from infections caused by the inhumane prison conditions and has developed an inflammatory condition due to the bacteria in the food. His family is concerned he will not live long enough see his own appeal.

Recent Development:
Last week saw a unique face off between a former Attorney General of Canada and Attorney General of Nicaragua over the case of this American. Former Attorney General of Canada, and private counsel to Nelson Mandela, Irwin Cotler, addressed a powerful letter to the Attorney General of Nicaragua, Julio Centeno, urging him to order a review of Jason’s wrongful conviction. Read letter here.  The letter notes as well that the California Innocence Project has formally accepted the case.
Centeno responded in the press claiming that the conviction was delivered according to law.
Stay tuned to the WC Blog for future updates on the case.
La condena injusta de Jason Puracal en Nicaragua es monumental y sirve como un marco escalofriante en la nueva tendencia de los secuestros institutionales al nivel internacional. Este caso tiene serias implicaciones para los ciudadanos de países desarollados quienes, estudian, trabajan, viajan, o se retiran en el extranjero.

La semana pasada vío un rostro único de entre un ex fiscal general de Canadá, y el fiscal general de Nicaragua acerca del caso de este estadounidense. El ex Fiscal General de Canadá, y el consejo privado a Nelson Mandela, Irwin Cotler, dirigió una carta poderosa a la fiscal general de Nicaragua, Julio Centeno, sugiriendole a ordenar una revisión de la condena injusta de Jason Puracal. Centeno respondió en la prensa diciendo que la condena haya sido entregada de acuerdo a la ley.

20 responses to “Former AG of Canada Intervenes in Jason Puracal Case in Nicaragua

  1. Crystal Wynia

    For all of the politicians & government officials, who have any juice…you should all band together & STOP this injustice. None of you should get another nights sleep until this man is free. This is NOT right . How can you call yourselves representatives of the American people & not work together to correct this miscarriage of justice..

    • Dear Crystal, the problem is that these government officials are making over $100.000 thousand dollars a year, live in a mansion and at the end they do not care about you, me or anyone in trouble. Both here in Canada as it is the case in the US. Our governments do not care and will let us get rotten in jail in a god forsaken country. Well they are doing it to their own people right here, so what makes us think they will move a finger outside the country??

  2. It’s good to see a post from Eric here! This case needs all the attention it can get. This is an excellent blog. Thank you for all that you do.

  3. Donna Marshall

    Let’s not let this go…it needs to become a nightmare for the Nicaraguan government; hopefully one that they need to make go away. As long as we all stand together and keep it in the spot light of public opinion we give this man a chance.

  4. Hindsite is 20-20… Jason should have left after his stint with the Peace Corps years ago. This is one of the poorest countries on the planet. Who did he do business with to develop such a lucrative real estate business? Maybe he did not traffic in drugs – but his clients could have. What doesn’t make sense, is that he initially went over to a dirt poor country, under the auspices of helping out their communities, because they are so poor. Then he finishes his volunteer work and decides to open a lucrative real estate business… and then his dealings are only with the rich. Maybe he used his position in the Peace Corps to his advantage to become some type of real estate mogul, in this poor country. I am sure after his volunteer work was done… he did not use any of the proceeds from his lucrative real estate enterprise – to help out the poor indigenios people… that he originally came to help. Now he finds himself in a pickle, he is alleging that they hold Kangaroo courts and he was unjustly convicted. That may be true… but who knew that better than Jason. And yet he continued to stay on in a country, that has a corrupt legal system. That was a very risky decision on his part. And when people put themselves in those type of precarious positions… there must be substantial monetary gain. Otherwise he would have left long ago. Why do drug dealers in the U.S.A. continually put themselves in dangerous situations, and risk lengthy prison sentences… it is because of all the money they make in the sale of drugs. Jason is a grown man. He spent at least two years working in a volunteer capacity with the Nicaraguan people. I am sure the families he worked with discussed with him many things. I am sure that many families in the communities he worked in – had a family member or family members in prison. And i am sure many of them were inncoent and convicted by a corrupt legal system. And the prison conditions i am sure he was well aware of. And the fact that some foreigners have been railroaded. So, why in the world would he stay? His wife and kid were legal Americans through marriage. He should have left the country and came back to his own country where we have a “fair” legal system, at least for the rich… and made his fortune here. The fact is he chose to stay there. He chose to do business there. So, he has to take responsibility fr making bad choices. I do not believe he was railroaded at all. Just because it is a third world country does not mean they are a bunch of ignorant savages. Nor does it mean that they don’t have reputable judges and lawyers. Most criminals, including the ten million in this country or more believe that they were wrongly convicted. Criminals rarely tell the truth. Most people don’t tell the truth. Americans assume that because this is a third world country, that they are uneducated and threw him in prison for no reason. Well… minorities and poor people in this country feel the same way. Many people in this country are incarcerated because they did not have the monies to secure a good legal defense. Likewise many people are free because they have money or their parents are in positions of power. Prime example: Trayvon and Zimmerman. He murdered a kid in cold blood and he has not been brought to justice because his father was or is a judge. Even when they wanted to charge him with manslaughter his father used his influence to set Zimmerman free. And as of yet he still has not been arrested. And millions rallied, entertainers spoke out, including the President of the United States, and there has been no justice for Trayvon. So, if the President of the United States can’t secure justice for Trayvon… how can the United States change a foreign legal system… for Jason. You have to clean up the filth in your own backyard first… and there is a lot of filth to be cleaned up… when a wonderful, sweet and INNOCENT child was MURDERED.

  5. Pingback: Petition Nicaraguan Authorities to Release Jason Puracal | Wrongful Convictions Blog

  6. Pingback: Developments in Jason Puracal Case… | Wrongful Convictions Blog

  7. Imani,
    Many people live in foreign countries. I lived in Asia with my wife, visiting many SE Asian countries for business. I never had a problem, and for the most part you can go about your business without any difficulties. But if someone put a target on you, it does not really matter if you are innocent or guilty, you will be found guilty. If someone is wrongly convicted, then it is something that should be overturned. The reason that it happens in countries like that is because no one does anything. Everyone says that is just the way it is. If they started standing up for justice, then maybe their country just might change.

    As for the Zimmerman/Martin issue, take that to some other forum. The cases are not even remotely similar or connected.

  8. Pingback: On-line Petition to Free Jason Puracal Goes Viral… | Wrongful Convictions Blog

  9. I was under the impression that inmates in Nicaraguan prisons are responsible for providing or buying their own food. Is Jason being denied the food his friends/family are providing?

  10. Pingback: Eric Volz and his Quest to Free Jason Puracal…. | Wrongful Convictions Blog

  11. Pingback: Jason Puracal Case on Anderson Cooper Live Tonight in U.S…. | Wrongful Convictions Blog

  12. Prisoner in Nicaragua

    I am a prisoner moch here in the prison of Nicaragua..
    The prision of nicaragua is the INFIERNO.
    No speek inglish sorry…
    Pero en español les puedo contar que este es uno de los peores paises del mundo. Con su presidente daniel ortega que es un gran capo narcotraficante internacional,acompañado de su hermano.
    Crearon un narcogobierno. Y an manipulado a la policia,ejercito,fiscalia,procuraduria,jueces y magistrados,para crear una mafia judicial… Donde el objetivo principal es implicar a las personas en falsos positivos. Les inventan cargos y delitos,para poder quedarsen con sus propiedades y bienes adquiridos. Hay personas que se encuentran en prision preventiva,acusados de narcotrafico,lavado de dinero,crimen organizado,y solo para poder quitarles todo…
    Y antes de ser jusgados,procesados y condenados. Sus propiedades ya estan a nombre de altos mandos,como comisionados y magistrados. Y los vehiculos incautados los conducen los hijos de los magistrados. Este pais es un circo total y violenta absolutamente los derechos humanos y tratados internacionales.
    Jamas en mi vida,pense ver un pais donde los derechos humanos no pueden entrar a una prision,les tienen prohibido el ingreso y revision de los presos. Saben porque,para que no puedan ver a personas que tienen en estado degradante como ami. Tengo casi 3 años de estar preso,no me dejan salir de la celda para nada,nunca me han ofrecido una llamada a mi familia o poder enviarles una carta. A DIOS le doy gracias por la tecnologia movil,y a la corrupcion que maneja esta prision donde los mismos guardias que te cuidan te venden moviles,armas y hasta droga. Y cuando quieren quitar a algun prisionero del camino,ellos mismos se encargan de mandarlo a puñaliar o a matar.
    Miren les cuento,aqui somos 10 personas en cada celda de 4×5 mts. Incluyendo el baño. Tenemos que dormir 5 en el suelo,y 5 en hamacas,no tenemos movencion,nos sentimos con dolor en los huesos y musculos,el calor es insoportable,son mas o menos 36ºc tanta calor y sudoracion te provoca hongos en la piel. No tenemos la asistencia medica apropiada,no existe la odontologia,solo si te duele un diente o una muela te la sacan y ya. La comida es horrible,nos dan arroz y frijoles semi cosidos y con bicarbonato,al desayuno,al almuerzo y a la cena,nada mas eso nos dan,y a pasar la comida con agua,y el agua no la ponen solo 2 veces al dia en la mañana a las 5am,y en la tarde a la 1pm.
    El sol jajaja… Hasta tristeza me da contar esto. A nosotros los que estamos en el sistema penitenciario la modelo de tipitapa nicaragua,que estamos en la galeria 8 baja. Nos dan el sol cada 15 o 20 dias 2 horas nada mas,solo 2 horas cada 15 o 20 dias es humillante y degradante. Y tienes derecho a una visita familiar y una conyugal de 2 horas cada 15 dias.
    Me pregunto que sera lo que tiene en contra de los extranjeros este pais. Si yo supiera que existe alguna entidad o fundacion o lo que sea que pudiera ayudarnos,digo ayudarnos porque somos mas de 100 extranjeros los que estamos encerrados las 24 horas,los 7 dias de la semana. Si existiera algo o alguien que pudiera cambiar esto y ayudarnos,yo con gusto adjuntaria fotos y videos de las condiciones inhumanas en que nos tienen,y el mal trato que nos dan las autoridades de la prision. Pero tengo miedo de correr con la suerte que corrio JASON PURACAL que se encontraba en la galeria 8 alta. Con su entrevista y todo lo que hizo no se imaginan lo que le paso. A el lo tienen aislado de toda la comunidad penal,en una celda donde permanece solo,sin poder hablar con nadie,ni recrearse ni disipar su mente.
    Nosotros los extranjeros presos en nicaragua,necesitamos que las naciones se unan y hagan algo en contra de nicaragua porque este pais esta matandonos lenta y silenciosamente.
    Osino necesitamos intervencion divina de DIOS,solo un milagro nos salvara de este dictador daniel ortega.
    Te felicito amigo ERIC VOLZ.. Has hecho lo que has podido y lo que esta en tus manos por ayudar muchas personas,mil gracias,y ojala y DIOS te de vida para seguir ayudando personas en el extranjero a quienes les incumplen los derechos humanos y tratados internacionales.
    DIOS los bendiga.
    Hasta pronto.
    ; )

  13. You American guys must learn that you are not welcome in Nicaragua, moreover not in San Juan del Sur. In the case of John; someone wanted to kick him out of business and he achieved that goal. @ El Prisionero. Vos andas de sapo. Si tienes acceso en la modelo al internet es porque eres de fianza, unos de los lameloides de los oficiales que anda haciendo su negocios de celda a celda; malnacido porque lloras vos?

    • Hey Queteimporta, when, where and who has ever said that in Nicaragua we do not welcome Americans?? You need to wake up and move forward. The problem in my beloved Nicaragua is not the people. It is the corrupt judges, Cuban trained police and the corrupt left wing communist government system. I am Nicaraguan, I see the abuses and human right violations from the Nicaraguan police. I see how corrupt they are, how the judges abuse the criminal code and the constitution. And yes the same happens right here in the USA and Canada but we are not talking about them, we are talking about Nicaragua. Wake up man we are in 2014. And before you verbal abuse me on the web, FYI I have University education in North America, fully bilingual, 3rd degree black belt in Karate Do and a former Sheriff with 14 years of experience.

  14. Pingback: Bring Him Home - Facebook Statistics

  15. Pero que extraña que en Estados Unidos esten apoyando a Etic Volz, si hasta en su propio pais tienen miles de crimenes sin resolver, por muy avanzados que estén. No hay que negar que la campaña mediatica de este gringo fue muy buena, al poner como pretexto que Nicaragua lo acuso de haber matado a la Señorita Jimenez, por que era gringo y en el pais se odia a los Gringos. Miren si un extranjero no trafica drogas o mata, nunca va a tener problemas con la justicia de ese país. Pero pretenden hacer los que se les de la ganan a estos delicuentes, como lo hacen en su pais. En Nicaragua hay miles de extrajeros y Norteamericanos, que tienen decadas de vivir en armonia con el pais; se han casado o siemplemente viven por que les encanta la gente y el pais; y saben que no han tenido problemas con la justicia ¿Por que será?, por que son buenas personas. Ahora por la unicas personas que representan quizar menos de 1% de los acusados extranjeros, quieren defenderse diciendo que los acusan por Xenofobia, por favor, el decir eso hace pensar aun mas su culpabilidad.

    Pero les digo algo, el que mata lo volverá hacer, y aunque Eric Volz ande feliz y libre por ahi, sus ganas de matar y violar, así como su sed torcida de sangre saldrá a relucir, y todos nos daremos cuenta la clase de persona que es. La Historia lo condenará…

  16. Lo mas chistoso de todo esto, es que Eric Volz desea defenderse de las acusaciones con el argumento que Nicaragua lo acusó por que en ese pais se odia a los gringos. Mientras mas dice esta argumentacion hace pesar que realmente cometió el asesinato. En Nicaragua existen miles de extranjeros y Norteamericanos que tienen decadas de vivir en el país, ya sea por que se han casado o por que les gusta la gente y el pais; y no han sido procesados o enjuiciados por ningun crimen, ya que han sidos personas buenas. Pero este maje Eric cree que la gente va a tragarse el cuento, que él es una víctima en todo esto, si la unica victima es la Señorita Jimenez, que simplemente no queria seguir acostandose con él simplemente por que le parecia desagradable.

    Pero la historia lo condenará, por que aunque ande libre y feliz por ahi, en algun momento su mente torcida con sed de sangre, volverá a matar y matará varias veces; y ahi veremos quien es la verdadera victima y sabremos que no se hizo totalmente justicia con la Señorita Jimenez. Todo el mundo le seguirá los pasos hasta que comenta nuevamente un crimen.

  17. Well seeing some of these post’s I think I will take Nicaragua of any future travel plans!

  18. Hello everyone. I was borne in Nicaragua but have lived in Canada for the past 23 years. I have university education in Clinical Social Work and 14 years experience as a Sheriff. I will be moving back to Nicaragua and would like to know how I can be of any help regarding support, investigation, etc to help the individuals who have been wrongfully convicted by the Corrupt Nicaraguan police, judges and left wing government???

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