American to be freed from Nicaraguan prison after nearly two years
“I don't know the reason that I'm here," Jason Puracal has said.
September 12th, 2012
09:05 PM ET

American to be freed from Nicaraguan prison after nearly two years

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

An American who has been imprisoned for nearly two years in Nicaragua will be freed Thursday, and all the charges he was convicted of will be vacated, according to members of his legal team and a judicial order they gave to CNN.

Jason Puracal, a 35-year old native of Washington state, had been serving a 22-year sentence for drug-related crimes in one of the Latin American country's most notorious prisons. He is one of 12 people ordered freed.

Since his arrest in 2011, Puracal had many vocal defenders who said the charges were baseless and there was not a shred of evidence presented at his trial to support the charges. Those defenders included prominent human rights activists, renown international attorneys, a former FBI investigator and a U.S. congressman. 

Why defenders believe Puracal is innocent

As his attorneys got word of the release order, it was unclear if Puracal was aware that he was to be a free man, said his attorney Jared Genser.

“We are trying to get word to Jason, but it’s after hours in the prison,” he said. “But we can say this is very, very good news, and we’re pleased that justice can be had in Nicaragua.”

In August, Puracal spoke by phone with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, saying he has been imprisoned in a “hellhole” and that he was “100 percent innocent.”

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

Wednesday’s order from the court was the result of an appeal hearing that concluded earlier this summer in which Puracal’s legal team argued for his release.

"The family is thrilled to hear the news that they are another huge step closer to bringing Jason home. There is one thing we have known all along over the past two years: Jason is innocent," said Eric Volz, a spokesman for Puracal's family

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Filed under: Nicaragua • TV-Anderson Cooper 360
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. fin

    Government leaders claim to be members of religious organizations. This is the connection that does not dissolve when Church and State are seperated by law. Claims are still made that connect the two.
    The End~

    September 13, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gem

      I saw when his sister was asking that he be released - as he was falsely accused. He's innocent - and I'm so happy to read that he will be released. I can tell the man is a good guy.

      September 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mary

    What do you want to print @ Murray

    September 14, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mary

    Right on! @ fin,
    Every single POTUS claims to be apart of a specific religious organization (posturing to look wholesome).
    Why would this be done if any mention of a religion (for political gain) within the political realm should not be included.

    Why would those religious organizations encourage our boys to go off to fight for God and Country if they wish no association with state and the states affairs...

    September 14, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. akronaut

    Is that the silhouette of an infant or young child to the left of Jason's head? Those sickos are keeping children there????

    September 14, 2012 at 4:53 am | Report abuse |
    • batjones

      Akronaut – You have a good eye on the details of the photo. I don't know what the silhouette is, but there appear to be a woman and a man sitting together at the right of the silhouette. As I have not heard of a gender integrated jail, one possible explanation for children, women and men being together at the jail would be that the the photo was taken at the visitation room. If this be the case, the photo would indicate a more relaxed setting than what we are usually presented at American holding facilities where visitors and detainees are not permitted to touch or roam freely in the visitation room. Maybe the reporter can provide us the details instead of letting us speculate?

      September 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      In my experience while living Honduras and Nicaragua prisons are very loose with who enters the prison. If you want to go in and visit there are assigned days for that and you enter the main doors of the prison and mingle with whoever you want. It was like entering a craft market because they have to work to survive in their prisons. A good movie to watch for a reference is Get the Gringo.

      December 6, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. lachelle

    I saw this story last month. Glad he is being released.

    September 14, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. 1amazed1

    Well it is about time he is released. Be as close to your family now than you have ever been. Lord bless you.

    September 14, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Alicia

    Nicaragua is not a friendly place for an American to be anyway....Daniel Ortega comes to mind.

    September 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gab

      You cannot condemned the acts of the government and portray them to the whole people from Nicaragua. In fact, Nicaragua is a friendly place for Americans. Look at the facts and find out how many Americans are currently leaving in Nicaragua and enjoying the beauty of the country. Nicaragua has beautiful people leaving in it.

      September 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Carolina

    Nicaragua is definitely a friendly country!
    Go to San Juan del ur, the town where Jason Puracal lived, and you'll be surprised how many Americans retired there. Alicia, do not condemned the whole country!

    September 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Abby

    Congratulations on the freedom of Jason Puracal! I know him and his family could not be happier to have him back home! I can't even imagine what is was like for him to be away from his home and family and friends for so long trapped in such a bad place when he did nothing wrong. I think it is awful that so many people are wrongfully convicted and spend parts of their lives wasting in jail. With all of the technology we have today, I think it is much easier to obtain more solid evidence to be 100% sure of someone's guilt or innocence. I also think that for Jason now all that can be done is being done for him and he is going to return home safely, which is great!

    September 17, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ding

    Ortaga?

    Is that what you say when ordering salsa}

    You are in no way even close to being a citizen of centro-south...America.

    Try harder

    September 18, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mannysal

    Nicaragua is one of the most clean and friendly countries of the region souht of Mexico even USA people beat and kill latino , racial profiling criminalizing poor farm Mexican workers but this are the times is in the Bible!

    October 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
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