Will Pollard, Gross Follow in Wake of Ostreicher? 2

By Jacob Kamaras, JNS.org

WHILE an air of mystery surrounds the details of Jewish businessman Jacob Ostreicher’s return to US soil after being held for more than two years in Bolivia, the involvement of legislators and a high-profile celebrity in his case may shed some light on the conditions that could lead to the freedom of other high-profile Jewish prisoners, such as Jonathan Pollard (US), Alan Gross (Cuba) and Ilya Farber (Russia).

Ostreicher, a 54-year-old Brooklyn native, traveled to Bolivia in December, 2010 to oversee rice production and was arrested in June, 2011 on suspicion of money laundering and criminal organization.

No formal charges were ever brought against him, but he spent 18 months in prison before being released on bail in December, 2012, after which he remained in Bolivia under house arrest.

News of Ostreicher’s escape from Bolivia broke Dec. 16, and little was known about the circumstances of his return to America until actor Sean Penn told the Associated Press on Dec. 18 that he was with Ostreicher following a “humanitarian operation” to free the Jewish businessman “from the corrupt prosecution and imprisonment he was suffering in Bolivia.”

In May, Penn testified about Ostreicher’s situation in a hearing before the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), one of the leading advocates in Congress for Ostreicher’s release, had arranged the hearing and on Dec. 17 thanked Penn “for his tireless work to free Jacob.”

Bill Richardson — the former governor of New Mexico and US Ambassador to the UN — said in a recent conference call with reporters that, like the rest of the public, he doesn’t “have all the circumstances of [Ostreicher’s] escape” from Bolivia.

But Richardson attempted to explain the conditions that may have led to Ostreicher’s freedom, citing a meeting he had with Bolivian President Evo Morales a year ago as an example of the “quiet diplomacy” he and other key officials engaged in on Ostreicher’s behalf.

Richardson also said that in the efforts to bring about Ostreicher’s release, there was “intensive public pressure by many Jewish organizations” that was “very effective.”

“What needs to happen in successful releases is a combination of public pressure and private diplomacy,” Richardson said. “Those combinations in many cases are the roots for success.”

ON Dec. 10, Richardson wrote a letter to President Barack Obama …..

Story continues here: Will Pollard, Gross Follow in Wake of Ostreicher?

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2 comments

  1. Gross should be release the same way as Ostreicher got released from a Bolivian prison.Raul Castro is contemplating a trade of the four spies for Gross.We are looking at two different situations here and two different dictators here,Evo Morales besides been an idiot he still has a little of common sense to know that his country can not prevail without doing business with the US,He needs to have economic relations with the US more than we need any business with him.Raul Castro besides been alcoholic (VODKA DRINKER) is arrogant as much as his senile Brother Fidel is and he will consider a defeat releasing Gross without a trade.The only way communists will negotiate is when the opponents have the upper hand and they know they are going to be in a position where if they lose they will be humiliated.

  2. I we look at the whole spectrum,Communists countries are predictable policy wise.North Korea had an American hostage,Bolivia had an American hostage the same way as Cuba and also Iran?Was it a coincidence?or where the hands of the Castro brothers involved in all this kidnapping campaign to put pressure on the US to release the four spies or to force a trade?

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