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US congressman in Bolivia to back US man

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) – A U.S. congressman has met with senior Bolivian officials to plead for the release of a New York man who he says has been wrongly jailed without charge for a year in a mockery of justice.

Rep. Chris Smith says Bolivia’s interior and justice ministers promised him they would personally look into the case of Jacob Ostreicher.

The New Jersey Republican called Ostreicher’s jailing “an egregious violation of human rights.” He met with the American earlier this week and attended a court hearing.

Ostreicher made an investment in rice farming and says he was swindled by an associate who turned out to have been involved with a drug trafficker.

Prosecutors jailed Ostreicher in June 2011 on suspicion of money laundering but have so far presented no evidence to back the accusation.

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