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Congress Probes Jailing of Hasid in Bolivia

The House Foreign Affairs human rights subcommittee will hold a hearing about the plight of a Chasidic Jew from Brooklyn being held in a Bolivian jail.

New York businessman Jacob Ostreicher has been on a hunger strike for nearly two months until he is either put on trial to defend himself against money laundering charges or released on bail.

Ostreicher’s wife and daughter, and a retired FBI official, will speak before the panel on Wednesday, according to The Hill website.

Ostreicher, a father of five from the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, belonged to a group of investors led by Andre Zolty of the Swiss firm Lexinter that sunk $25 million into growing rice in lush eastern Bolivia. He was arrested a year ago by Bolivian police. During his arraignment, the judge alleged that Ostreicher did business with “people wanted in their countries because of links with drug trafficking and money laundering.”

The judge also determined that Ostreicher should not be allowed to post bail because “being free, the accused could destroy [or] change evidence that could lead the attorney general to discover the truth.”

U.S. lawmakers and Ostreicher’s family believe that the U.S. State Department has not provided an adequate response to Ostreicher’s detention.

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