San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

U.S. man to be released from Nicaraguan prison after nearly two years

MANAGUA – The lawyer for a U.S. citizen jailed for nearly two years on money-laundering and drug charges in Nicaragua confirmed Wednesday that his client will be freed after winning a appeal.

Attorney Fabbrith Gómez said an appeals court unanimously vacated the charges against 35-year-old Jason Puracal and ordered him released immediately, as well as ten other Nicaraguan nationals.

Puracal made his home in a Pacific coast beach town, wed a Nicaraguan woman and had a son. In late 2010, masked policeman raided his real estate office and took him to Nicaragua’s maximum security prison.

Prosecutors charged that Puracal was using his business as a front for money laundering in a region used to transport cocaine from Colombia to the United States.

Puracal’s family and friends and human rights groups have maintained the charges were false.

Jason Puracal’s sister Janis said the family is hoping the jail gets the order for his release Thursday. If not, a long holiday weekend could postpone his release until next week.

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