Managua, Nicaragua – A U.S. citizen jailed for nearly two years in Nicaragua on money-laundering and drug charges was released from prison on Thursday after a court upheld his appeal.
Jason Puracal, 35, of Tacoma left the prison hunched down in the back seat of a car being driven by his lawyer without talking to reporters.
Fabbrith Gomez, Puracal’s lawyer, briefly stopped the vehicle and said that Puracal needed a shower and some rest, and wouldn’t be speaking to the media.
The case has drawn the scrutiny of U.S. Congress members and human rights groups, including the California Innocence Project, which said Puracal’s arrest was illegal.
A three-judge appeals panel in Nicaragua on Wednesday notified both prosecutors and the defense that it ruled to absolve Puracal, withdraw the 22-year sentence he received and free him.
Diplomat arrives in Syria for ‘nearly impossible’ job
Beirut – The diplomat tasked with ending Syria’s civil war said that the conflict is worsening on Thursday, the same day he traveled to the country for the first time since taking up a job he himself has called “nearly impossible.”
Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League envoy, was expected to meet Syrian President Bashar Assad today. He also was to meet members of the Syrian opposition.
“We came to Syria to consult with our Syrian brothers,” Brahimi said on arrival at the airport in Damascus. “There is a crisis in Syria and I believe it is getting worse.”
Brahimi replaces Kofi Annan, who left the job in frustration in August after his efforts failed to stem a conflict that started in March 2011.