US hiker freed by Iran calls on Nicaragua, release Puracal

By REUTERS
August 30, 2012 07:15

LOS ANGELES - Activists including an American hiker who had been jailed in Iran delivered petitions with more than 100,000 signatures to a Nicaraguan consulate in Los Angeles on Wednesday demanding freedom for a US citizen they say is unjustly imprisoned in the Central American country.

Jason Puracal, 35, was found guilty of drug trafficking and money laundering by a Nicaraguan trial judge exactly one year ago on Aug. 29, after being detained in 2010. He was sentenced to a 22-year term and has been in solitary confinement and on suicide watch, his supporters told Reuters last month.

Puracal has become a cause célèbre for US and international human rights activists, with US lawmakers appealing to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega for his freedom.

Sarah Shourd, an American who was imprisoned in Iran after being arrested in 2009 while hiking near the Iraq border, was among those who delivered the petitions in the latest show of support for Puracal's case.


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