Category Archives: Political cases

Were the Trayvon Martin Charges Politically Motivated?

The governor-appointed prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin shooting case, Angela Corey, brought charges of 2nd degree murder against George Zimmerman without a grand jury indictment.  Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has questioned the foundations for those charges and that action.

The following link is to an article that explores this question.

This, once again, raises the issue of “prosecutorial immunity”.  So much power vested in a single individual with no accountability.

Jason Puracal on CNN Last Night…

Watch the video, which includes Anderson Cooper doing a phone interview with Jason here.


(CNN) — An American being held in a Nicaraguan prison said he is innocent and described his treatment in a “hellhole” in an exclusive phone interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday.

“I don’t know the reason that I’m here,” Jason Puracal said. “That’s been a mystery from the very beginning. What the motives behind the police and the prosecution have been.”

Puracal, a 35-year-old from Washington state, has been behind bars since August 2010, when Nicaraguan authorities raided his real estate office in the coastal tourist city of San Juan del Sur.

CNN profiled Puracal in February.

In November, a Nicaraguan judge found Puracal guilty of money laundering, drug trafficking and organized crime and sentenced the American to 22 years. But a chorus of supporters say that there is no evidence to support the charges and Continue reading

Jason Puracal Case on Anderson Cooper Live Tonight in U.S….

The case has been covered many times on this blog, including here, here and here.

The case will be featured on Anderson Cooper 360 Tonight at 8:00 and against at 10:00 EST.

United Nations Calls on Nicaragua to Immediately Release Wrongly Imprisoned U.S. Citizen Jason Puracal

Prior coverage of case by contributing editor Justin Brooks here…Chicago Tribune article about UN action here

David House Agency – Press Release

United Nations Calls on Nicaragua to Immediately Release
Wrongly Imprisoned U.S. Citizen Jason Puracal
Declares Nicaragua in Violation of International Law
Washington, DC (May 30, 2012) – The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has ruled that the Government of Nicaragua’s detention of Jason Puracal is in violation of international law and he should be released immediately.  Puracal, an American citizen from the Seattle/Tacoma area, has been illegally detained since November 2010 in Nicaragua’s infamous La Modelo prison.  Under Opinion No. 10/2012 – which was issued by renowned experts from Chile, Norway, Pakistan, Senegal, Ukraine – the United Nations urged immediate action.  Puracal’s appeal hearing has been delayed for nine months and remains unscheduled.
There are more than 3,000 U.S. citizens detained worldwide for various alleged and actual offenses.  Puracal is the only American currently being detained even though there is an independent finding that the detention is unlawful.   The UN found the Nicaraguan judicial system failed to provide Puracal with a trial consistent with its obligations under international law, resulting in an arbitrary verdict.  He was denied the right to a competent tribunal established by law, the right to a fair trial, the presumption of innocence, and the right to be tried without undue delay.
“We are gratified that the United Nations has found Jason is being held in violation of international law,” said Puracal’s international attorney, Jared Genser.  “We call on the Nicaraguan government to release him immediately in accordance with this important ruling.”
Earlier this month, 43 members of the United States House of Representatives sent a letter urging President Ortega take immediate action by ordering an independent review of the case.  The letter is available here: 2012.pdf.
May 31 marks Jason’s 35th birthday and 568th day in prison.  For more information, please visit

Blawg Review #323 – Memorial Day, the Rule of Law, & Human Rights.

While those of us in the US or UK may be taking a chance to relax or spend time with friends and family (28th May 2012 being Memorial Day, or Spring Bank Holiday in the UK), it is trite to point out (and for many of us, guilt-inducing) that many more will be continuing their struggles to improve the lot of humankind, or will be imprisoned, or lost to their loved ones. Today also marks the anniversary of the publication of the letter ‘The Forgotten Prisoners’ in The Observer newspaper in 1961, authored by Peter Benenson. Benenson’s call to arms to write letters of support for those whose human rights are breached is credited with starting the organization Amnesty International. The fight to uphold human rights is continued by millions around the world today and there are a plethora of blogs reflecting an interest in such human rights campaigns. (see list of some here)

Some of the more essential blogs for those interested in human rights, in the US, see this. Australian human rights lawyers are meanwhile well served by the great blog at the Castan Centre. UK lawyers should not go past The Human Rights Blog or the blog out of 1 Crown Office Row.

My interest in ‘injustice’ focuses on the criminal justice system and failings therein. Justice is about distributions – according persons their fair shares and treatment. The primacy of individual autonomy and rights is central to the ‘due process model’ of criminal justice, recognising that human fallibility and systemic failures can yield grave injustice. Embracing an ‘encompassing’ model of miscarriages of justice can stir debate over the proper focus of researchers and campaigners alike, with some claiming that an exclusive focus on the ‘innocence’ is vital. They prefer the term ‘wrongful conviction’ (although this too can have wider meaning, to include the factually and legally innocent as well as those convicted through unjust procedures), to distinguish those convicted but innocent, from those unjustly convicted.

The debate over taxonomy continues but does not detract from the work of many globally, trying to address the injustices caused by the criminal justice system. In the UK, many legal professionals and investigative journalists, have worked tirelessly alongside campaigners, to bring miscarriages of justice to light. Pressure groups such as Justice and Liberty have now pretty much abandoned this area, leaving it to smaller, largely unfunded organisations such as MOJO (Miscarriages of Justice Organisation) and Innocent (who maintain a wonderful resource rich website covering almost all the miscarriages of justice in the UK since 1993). An international source of information and links, originated in Australia, is ‘Networked Knowledge’, by Robert N. Moles. Single campaigns of course continue, with some great examples of webpages highlighting their cases, such as: Simon Hall and Sam Hallam (exonerated last week). University based Innocence Projects are also working tirelessly in the UK on alleged miscarriages of justice, (see Universities of Cardiff and Leeds for just two examples. This model is replicated from those Innocence Projects so successful in the US, and now expanding internationally.

The original Innocence Project in New York continues to be a source of inspiration and information. The work of the Innocence Project and the Innocence Network now has its own global dimension with The Center for the Global Study of Wrongful Conviction at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Their blog is new but rapidly growing in prominence. Whilst covering breaking news, in terms of exonerations and legislative or political manouvres, it also features some great contributions on the causes of wrongful convictions. Many other individual Innocence Projects maintain great websites and blogs that are worth following, such as Northwestern Law Center on Wrongful Convictions. The University of Texas at Austin has an ‘Actual Innocence Awareness Database’ while Northwestern University and Michigan University have also launched a National Registry of Wrongful Convictions, a vital research tool for anyone interested in wrongful convictions in the US or elsewhere.

Of course, the ‘Innocence’ movement would not be what it is today without the advent of forensic DNA profiling, leading to the exoneration of many, and proving without doubt their innocence. Yet, while forensic science is acclaimed in the media, it has a blemished history in reality. Many infamous miscarriages of justice have had at their core, scientific evidence that was not disclosed, flawed, or misrepresented in court. This is not to assert that ‘scientific’ methods of identifying criminal perpetrators in particular, have not advanced dramatically. Lessening reliance upon inherently flawed eyewitness or other evidence has undoubtedly saved many innocent individuals from investigation or possibly, wrongful conviction. It is simply to concede that such ‘scientific’ methods of identification are not infallible. This is a focal point of my research, the contribution of ‘science’ to (in)justice. As such, there are a wealth of ‘forensic’ blogs to keep up with if one is to keep anywhere near ‘on top’ of developments in forensics.

Many, if not most, are maintained by forensic departments in universities, such as the Florida University Forensic Science Blog or by keen individuals (the

‘father’ of forensic blogging is ‘Zeno’. Forensic Suite 101 has a wealth of reading materials and great videos for those with strong stomachs. Some more recent newcomers include the Forensics Guy and one aimed at criminal defense lawyers, The Truth About Forensic Science. Covering forensic science and news about injustices and wrongful convictions, the blog by Peter Tillers also does a great job on discussing issues relating to evidence, while David Kaye, author of ‘The Double Helix and the Law of Evidence’ blogs at Double Helix Law on all things ‘DNA’ and law and also blogs on Forensic Science, Statistics & the Law. ‘The Charles Smith Blog’ blog was named after the infamous pathologist, responsible for much injustice in Canada. Maintained by a retired journalist, the blog now covers fascinating news on all things ‘criminal injustice’ related and is a must read.

The scale of injustice perpetrated by the criminal justice system itself may never be agreed upon. “How Bad Is The U.S. Wrongful Conviction Problem?” asks Brian Evans on the Human Rights Now Blog of Amnesty USA. However, it is easy to see that the issue coming to the fore globally now, more than ever. The work of the Innocence Network is unrivaled in this respect, but so too is the most often thankless (and costly) work done by individuals and campaigners, including criminal lawyers, working on cases and trying to bring about reform. Without the development of forensic DNA profiling, who knows whether this explosion of interest would have happened, or could have been maintained. While they may be sometimes at fault, it is good to see some great examples of forensic scientists also working hard to remedy injustices, and work to ensure the prevention of many more. Long may these individuals and organisations, which look out for our human rights, have our support.

We begin this week’s Blawg Review #323 at the Innocence Blog, where the Innocence Project honors the wrongfully  convicted who had served in the military. Perhaps more to be honored on Veterans Day, former Army Sergeant Dennis Maher served almost six years on active duty before he was wrongfully convicted in 1984. Exonerated through DNA testing in 2003, Maher says “Because of my wrongful conviction, I missed the opportunity to serve my country because I was going to be a career soldier. I think about that on Memorial Day.”

Returning to the anniversary of Amnesty International,  #AmnestyReport2012 – an overview of state of human rights worldwide – is now available in full online here. Apparently, the US Department of State submitted the report to Congress, except the part about the USA noting, “The focus of the Human Rights Reports is on the human rights performance of other governments. We note that the United States does examine its own human rights record against its international commitments and obligations in many other fora. For example, in December, the United States submitted a lengthy report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on U.S. implementation of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. The United States also engages in the U.N. Universal Periodic Review process, through which the human rights records of the U.N.’s 193 Member States are reviewed and assessed once every four years. These reports are available on”

“The military trial of the WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning is being conducted amid far more secrecy than even the prosecution of the alleged 9/11 plotters in Guantanamo, a coalition of lawyers and media outlets protest,” writes Ed Pilkington for the guardian in New York.

Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch, on Twitter points us to an editorial of the New York Times alleging a court covers up that concludes, “The judges should have given the government’s overwrought claims of national security and secrecy special scrutiny, not extreme deference.”

Daphne Eviatar reports on HuffPost that “perhaps the most closely watched Guantanamo-related case since the Supreme Court confirmed detainees’ right to judicial review in Boumediene v. Bush in 2008, Latif v. Obama raises a critical issue that goes to the heart of whether U.S. prisoners have a meaningful opportunity to challenge their detention. Must a court presume the accuracy of a government document introduced against a Guantanamo detainee, even if it’s not clear how that document was produced?”

Focussing upon a particularly pernicious abuse of human rights, The Renditon Project website was officially launched. UK legal action charity, Reprieve, issued a press release, in which Clare Algar, Executive Director of Reprieve said, ‘The Rendition Project will be an important tool in bringing the tangled web of the CIA’s illegal rendition programme to light. It is essential that we get to the bottom of what was one of the worst human rights abuses of the ‘War on Terror’ – including the involvement of the UK, a number of other European states, and major corporations.

A Pakistani doctor was sentenced to 33 years in prison Wednesday for helping the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) locate Osama Bin Laden  reported JURIST news. “After a trial lasting two months during which Shakeel Afridi was not afforded the opportunity to defend himself, a tribal court convicted him of treason and spying.” Glenn Greenwald, in a provocative op-ed post on says that “American rage at Pakistan over the punishment of a CIA-cooperating Pakistani doctor is quite revealing of The Imperial Mind.”

One of the most common human rights concerns in the USA, wrongful convictions, is reported by The Wrongful Convictions Blog and the ABA Journal as well as other media this week. The first-ever published report (PDF) of the National Registry of Exonerations, assembled by the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law, “highlights grave questions about the legitimacy of the legal justice system.”

On the Huffington Post Chicago, the president of the Chicago Innocence Project, David Protess, introduces the exonerated.

More than 200 men and women have been wrongfully convicted of serious crimes in California, six of whom were sentenced to death.  Here on Death Penalty Focus are some of their stories.

Brian Banks, former football star and USC Trojan recruit, was exonerated this week, as reported here on The Wrongful Conviction Blog. The “victim” recanted and admitted she lied at trial (the sex was actually consensual). She did not come forward earlier because she didn’t want to “give the money back”–meaning the settlement that she obtained from the school where the rape allegedly occurred.

The Innocence Blog points to a story on that describes The Long Road From Exoneration to Compensation for the wrongfully convicted.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, there was an important victory for prisoners (and the public) in the European Court of Human Rights, with the Court RE-affirming earlier decisions, that there should not be a blanket rule disenfranchising prisoners. On the UK Human Rights Blog, Reuven Ziegler writes about the case for letting prisoners voteCharon QC notes the latest prisoner votes case from Europe on his blog, “The case is important.  For my part, I have no problem whatsoever with prisoners voting.  I rather hope that prisoners will return to society improved for paying their debt to society and be part of society.  Pie in the sky for recidivists… but an ideal to which we should aspire? I am, I suspect, in a sizeable minority.”

However, as the honest among us would readily admit, on the whole, our prison system does little to rehabilitate, in fact, as Alisa Roth on the ACLU Blog of Rights argues prisoners subjected to solitary confinement in particular are ““more broken than when they went in”. Meanwhile, Gideon, a public defender, looks at some reactions to the death penalty repeal  in CT and tells the tale in a post titled, Idiocracy.

A topic comes up time and again on the Wrongful Convictions blog, Conrad Black points to cases of prosecutor misconduct and asks, “How Many Wrongful Convictions Will the Public Stand for?

“Facing the truth is hard to do, especially the truth about ourselves,” says Bill Moyers. “Not surprising, Americans have been sorely pressed to come to terms with the fact that after 9/11 our government began to torture people and did so in defiance of domestic and international law. It’s no secret such cruelty occurred. It’s just the truth we’d rather not think about. But Memorial Day is a good time to make the effort because, if we really want to honor the Americans in uniform who died fighting for their country, we’ll redouble our efforts to make sure we’re worthy of their sacrifice. We’ll renew our commitment to the rule of law. For the rule of law is essential to any civilization worth dying for.”

Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

Controversial “Lockerbie Bomber” Dies…

I have previously covered at length the Lockerbie Bomber case here, here and here, which many believe resulted in a wrongful conviction.

Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the so-called Lockerbie Bomber, died today at age 60.

US lawmakers Urge Nicaraguan President to Review Jason Puracal’s Case

Forty three U.S. Congressmen have signed on to a letter to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega urging him to review the case of American Jason Puracal.  Mr. Puracal, a former  Peace Corp volunteer, was working for Remax Real Estate Company in San Juan del Sur when his home and office where invaded by police.  No evidence of drugs or any other criminal evidence was found, yet Mr Puracal was arrested, charged with drug trafficking and money laundering, and sentenced to 22 years in prison.  At his trial, there was no evidence of drugs presented and the evidence of money laundering consisted of legitimate purchase agreements in the escrow account from the Remax Real Estate office.  Mr. Puracal was not allowed to call witnesses for his defense.

The Congressman expressed their dismay at this wrongful conviction and also the fact that Mr. Puracal is being held in a crowded, unsanitary cell where he does not have access to clean water.  They urged that the conviction and the conditions of confinement be reviewed.

Mr. Puracal’s case has received the support of many lawyers in the innocence project network including the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law in San Diego.

Roman Polanski to Make Feature Film of Famous Wrongful Conviction Case in France….

Roman Polanski

Prior to my speaking engagements today in Krakow, Poland, I spent some time yesterday at the Oskar Schindler Factory Museum.   There, I learned that filmmaker Roman Polanski spent time in the Jewish Ghetto in Krakow as child before escaping.  At the museums were moving letters Roman had written as an 8-year old describing life in the Ghetto.

Upon returning to my room, I found this story that Polanski will be making a feature film of the wrongful conviction of Alfred Dreyfus, known as “The Dreyfus Affair” in France (see book about subject here).  I found this connection fitting given Polanski’s background:


Roman Polanski announced his next film would be a period espionage thriller based on the Dreyfus Affair, a turn-of-the-20th-century miscarriage of justice soaked in the era’s anti-Semitism. Captain Alfred Dreyfus was the first Jewish officer to be appointed to the French army’s general staff. Brilliant but unpopular with his peers, he was accused of high treason in 1894 when a German spy made off with French military secrets. Dreyfus was scapegoated and sentenced to life in prison, fueling populist anti-Semitic sentiments across the country. The facts would ultimately reveal that he had nothing to do with the betrayal, and his exile became a cause célèbre for those who demanded justice.

“I have long wanted to make a film about the Dreyfus Affair, treating it not as a costume drama but as a spy story,” said Polanski, who is calling his film D, in a statement. “In this way one can show its absolute relevance to what is happening in today’s world — the age-old spectacle of the witch-hunt of a minority group, security paranoia, secret military tribunals, out-of-control intelligence agencies, governmental cover-ups, and a rabid press.”

Polanski will direct a screenplay written by Robert Harris (The Ghost Writer), and production is scheduled to begin in Paris by the end of this year. Casting has yet to begin.

Dreyfus’ ordeal was most famously chronicled onscreen in 1958′s I Accuse!, in which José Ferrer played the heroic Capt. Dreyfus.

Freedom Comes, At the Nick of Time for Patrick Okoroafor

I blogged recently about the plight of Patrick Okoroafor, in detention awaiting the executioner. That was on the 20th of April, 2012. Thanks in large part to the advocacy by Amnesty International, young Patrick Okoroafor has regained his freedom and been spared the hangman’s noose. He has since rejoined his family and remain thankful to the tens of thousands of people who campaigned tirelessly for his release. It is the right thing to do. It is worth reiterating my bewilderment, at the prospect of having a young man’s life snuffed out just like that, given the circumstances leading to his arraignment; his trial as a minor and the subsequent injustice, suffering and humiliation he endured whilst awaiting execution. And now clemency!. Read further here

The legal details surrounding Patrick’s release are still foggy. It would appear that the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha exercised his prerogative power of mercy, as I canvassed in my earlier blog; as one way of bringing this unfortunate travesty of justice to a close. In a sense therefore, he is truly the hero, given that most Governors would prefer to remain obstinate about exercising such powers. This, of course, is not taking anything away from Amnesty International who internationalised this case. Will it be asking too much, for Patrick and his legal team to be demanding for compensation? That again, is the right thing to do.

Sunday’s Quick Clicks…

Wednesday’s Quick Clicks…

Eric Volz and his Quest to Free Jason Puracal….

Eric Volz

….got a nice write up in Outside Magazine (with quotes from California Innocence Project director and contributing editor Justin Brooks).  Full article here.  Prior coverage of the case here, here and here.  Excerpt:

More than five years ago, in the small town of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, a 28-year-old American expat from Tennessee named Eric Volz was charged with the murder of his beautiful ex-girlfriend. The 25-year-old woman, named Doris Ivania Alvarado Jiménez, had been raped and killed in a quiet town that was changing as Americans looking for cheap living near the ocean moved onto beachfront property. The locals didn’t exactly enjoy the boom, and resentment toward outsiders grew. It seemed that Volz had found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and eventually he was sentenced to life in prison, though the case against him was murky. Reporter Tony D’Souza covered the trial for Outside in 2006 and 2007. D’Souza’s story, and others, drummed up media attenton that put a spotlight on Volz’s imprisonment. Volz’s family also fought to keep the story in the news, and in December of 2007, he was released from a Nicaraguan prison and returned to the United States.

Now, Volz has begun a fight to try and free an American from the same prison where he was kept. Jason Puracal, who moved to Central America as a Peace Corps volunteer in 2002, was arrested in his San Juan del Sur home in November 2011, and was later given a sentence of 22 years for drug trafficking and money laundering. The real estate agent with a Nicaraguan wife and a 4-year-old son went to prison.

When Volz found out about the case, he turned to, the same site where Trayvon Martin’s mother made an appeal to get her son’s death noticed. Volz teamed with former DEA Director Tom Cash to ask for Puracal’s release on a petition that has acquired more than 80,000 signatures.

“I’ve investigated some of the world’s largest drug kingpins, including Pablo Escobar,” said Cash in a press release.  “While there are certainly a lot of drug traffickers in Nicaragua, Jason Puracal is not one of them.”

When reached by email, Volz said not a single shred of evidence was presented at the case. “It is impossible to talk about justice with a judicial branch that is held hostage by outside interests, in a system in which judges are more likely to follow orders from political party leaders instead of ruling according to law,” he said. “While there is a component of wrongful conviction to Jason’s case, this is more accurately categorized as a, what we refer to here at the David House Agency, as an ‘institutional kidnapping.'”

Full article here.

On-line Petition to Free Jason Puracal Goes Viral…

Background of case here and here.

Full story here.  Excerpt below:

LOS ANGELES, CA – More than 80,000 people have joined a powerful new campaign on calling for the release of Jason Puracal, an American citizen allegedly sentenced to 22 years by Nicaraguan authorities on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. The California Innocence Project, multiple members of Congress, a former Canadian Minister of Justice, and a former FBI Agent are among the names and organizations who believe Puracal is innocent and have asked the U.S. State Department to intervene in the case.

The explosive petition was launched last month by former DEA Director Tom Cash and Eric Volz, the man who, after being wrongfully convicted of murder in 2007, spent 14 months in the Nicaraguan prison where Jason is now incarcerated. Eric is now is the managing director of The David House Agency, an international crisis resource organization that provides services to Americans facing complex legal and political situations abroad.

“I know what it’s like to be wrongfully convicted in Nicaragua and I know what it’s going to take to get Jason freed,” said Eric after launching the campaign on “Jason is literally fighting for his life in one of the world’s most dangerous prisons. His life is in jeopardy every day that the U.S. government doesn’t intervene in this egregious violation of human rights.

Wednesday’s Quick Clicks…

  • Wake Forest Prof Carol Turowski on the problems in post-conviction innocence cases of the prosecutors squeezing guilty pleas to lesser charges from innocent inmates; the inmates often take the deal even though innocent rather than remain incarcerated while the post-conviction innocence cases works its way through the courts
  • New book by Chicago attorney Ted Grippo on the wrongful convictions and executions of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti
  • The unchecked charging power of the prosecutor
  • Jason Puracal’s family fights to free him from Nicaraguan prison
  • Montana Innocence Project wins evidentiary hearing in attempt to obtain new trial in rape case
  • Woman in Texas attempts to overturn her murder conviction that was based on the notoriously unreliable evidence from a dog-scent lineup

Exonerated Man to Receive Payment From Police Officers Allegedly Responsible For Coerced Confession

Harold Hill was exonerated in 2005, after 12 years in prison, for a rape/murder conviction based on a confession he says was beaten out of him. As reported here in the Chicago Tribune, two police officers allegedly involved in this and other similar coerced confessions will personally pay part of a $1.25 million settlement with Hill by the City of Chicago.

The officer’s payment of $7,500 each is a small part of the settlement, but it was important to Hill. Rather than receiving payment from a “faceless” government Continue reading

Monday’s Quick Clicks…

  • Website about the political persecution and alleged wrongful conviction of Adrian Nastase, the former Prime Minister of Romania
  • News video about exoneree Juan Melendez and his quest to end capital punishment
  • Juan Rivera at epicenter of discussions about false confessions; more here
  • Lockerbie:  Case Closed….the documentary film about this alleged wrongful conviction

Megrahi Near Death…

Also knows as The Lockerbie Bomber, much controversy has surrounded his conviction in recent months (here here and here).

Story of his impending death here

Developments in Jason Puracal Case…

Background on this political wrongful conviction case here and here:

Press release from Eric Volz of the David House Agency:

Please find here a petition to the United Nation Special Rapporteur on Torture c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at Geneva. The petition, filed this morning regarding the case of my client Jason Puracal, an American citizen wrongly detained in Nicaragua, details the the ways in which he was tortured in police custody and continues to be subject to inhumane treatment by the prison guards. Anna Tolin’s (Northwest IP) early work on this case helped to lay the ground work for this petition. This filing is very serious and the UN will be forced to quickly respond and publicly weigh in.
Jason has been denied edible food and potable water for the last 17 months and is slowly being starved to death.  He has some 30 pounds off his original weight of 180 pounds.

Petition Nicaraguan Authorities to Release Jason Puracal

Jason Puracal and family

Background on Jason Puracal case here and here.

Press release from Eric Volz and the David House Agency:

The advocacy group, who is responsible for breaking the Travon Martin story, approached our colleague Eric Volz, managing director of The David House Agency, about authoring a petition for the Jason Puracal case in Nicaragua. Eric recruited former DEA director, Tom Cash, to co-author the petition, which went public on Friday, and as of this morning, has over 70,000 signatures.
Eric said, “The petition simply urges the Nicaraguan authorities to order a review of Jason Puracal’s wrongful conviction. Its not a supplement for all the other areas in which we are advocating, but it is contributing the appropriate kind of pressure needed at this point in this case. So far Nicaraguan foreign minister has received over 70,000 emails about the case. Id say we are getting someone’s attention. Maybe we can ever crash a server or two.”

In Sierra Leone, Executive Meddlesomeness Led to the Wrongful Conviction of Mohamed Sesay

There are myriad of factors that enable wrongful convictions to happen. For Mohamed Sesay – a Sierra Leonean businessman – it was the mix of politics at the highest level of government, coupled with graft and state corruption that were the primary considerations. The legal system in Sierra Leone has in the past been plagued by inept corruption and extortion, where despite the nature of a case, if money exchanged hands, a wrongful conviction is inevitable. Flawed evidence were used to wrongfully convict Mohamed Sesay. Although Mohamed Sesay was eventually released, its unclear, if he, or his Attorneys pursued compensation from the government that wrongfully convicted him to serve a political purpose. Read here