Brooklyn – Councilman David G. Greenfield today sent a letter to actor Sean Penn thanking him for his involvement in the ongoing plight of Greenfield’s constituent, Jacob Ostreicher, who has been jailed in Bolivia for 18 months without facing any formal criminal charges. In the letter to Mr. Penn, Councilman Greenfield expresses his gratitude to the actor and humanitarian for taking the time and energy to get involved and bring greater attention and political pressure to Mr. Ostreicher’s case.
Jacob Ostreicher, a married father of five and grandfather of 11, was arrested in June 2011 by Bolivian police while he was overseeing a rice growing venture that he had invested in. He was accused of money laundering but 18 months later has yet to be formally charged with any crimes. Greenfield has consistently called for Mr. Ostreicher’s release since he met with Mrs. Ostreicher and became familiar with the facts of the case.
Mr. Penn took a significant interest in this case and arranged to meet with Bolivian President Evo Morales to appeal on Mr. Ostreicher’s behalf. As a result of that meeting, eight individuals involved in the sham case against Mr. Ostreicher have been charged with corruption in recent weeks. In addition, Mr. Penn’s intervention helped Mr. Ostreicher have his case heard this week by an appellate court. While the decision by those judges to send the case back to the original judge who ordered Ostreicher jailed was very disappointing, Councilman Greenfield credits Mr. Penn’s involvement with bringing critical international attention to this case and pressuring the Bolivian government.
“On behalf of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community, I extend my personal and sincere thanks to Sean Penn for his tireless efforts in support of Jacob Ostreicher. While movie stars are not well-known in Borough Park, where most homes don’t have televisions, Sean Penn has become a household name as a result of his great humanitarian efforts and his dedication to achieving justice for Mr. Ostreicher and his family. I truly appreciate Mr. Penn’s refusal to stand by as an American citizen is subjected to these corrupt proceedings in Bolivia,” said Councilman Greenfield.
Sean Penn is an internationally-renowned actor and activist with close ties with many left-wing leaders including Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. He founded a relief organization in the wake of the 2010 earthquake that devastated much of Haiti, and still spends about half of his time there helping with the recovery and rebuilding process. On October 30th, he provided Bolivian President Morales with evidence showing that Jacob Ostreicher was unfairly jailed as a result of widespread corruption.
“The case against Jacob Ostreicher has clearly been a sham since day one. I will continue to do everything I can to bring attention to this matter. As our community continues to speak out and demand justice for the Ostreicher family, my thanks goes out to Sean Penn for lending a powerful and persuasive voice to the effort to clear Jacob Ostreicher’s name and bring him home to his family in Brooklyn. May God repay Mr. Penn for this kindness,” concluded Councilman Greenfield.
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