Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs Fights for Brooklyn Resident’s Human Rights

July 3, 2012
The refrain of “we want justice” echoed outside the Bolivian Mission on Sunday, July 1, as Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (D – Brooklyn) spoke out for Jacob Ostreicher, a Brooklyn resident and U.S. citizen who has been detained in a Bolivian prison for over a year.

At present, there have been no formal charges brought against Ostreicher by the Bolivian government, despite his ongoing imprisonment. Ostreicher has been scheduled for over a dozen hearings, all of which have been postponed.

“We are here to make [Jacob Ostreicher] known to the world,” Jacobs told the crowd. “It is in our moral imperative to redeem people who are unjustly imprisoned and essentially kidnapped,” Jacobs continued. “Jacob Ostreicher deserves due process,” Jacobs noted in an interview following the event. “His basic human and civil rights are being violated.”

Assemblywoman Jacobs was joined by a diverse group of elected officials, including Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who organized the gathering, Councilman Mathieu Eugene, Senator Eric Adams, Councilwoman Letitia James, Senator Charles Schumer and former NY State Governor David Paterson, as well as Ostreicher’s wife, children and extended family.

“I applaud Senator Schumer, Assemblyman Hikind and my colleagues in government for their efforts. We are all asking the U.S. Department of State to move assertively for Ostreicher’s release and to demand every American citizen’s rights,” Jacobs emphasized.

“This issue directly affects the communities I represent,” she added, “but I am pleased that elected officials throughout New York City turned out to show their support. This is not just an issue for a particular ethnic or religious group,” Jacobs underscored. “Human rights are everyone’s concern.”

In December 2010, Ostreicher, 53, purchased Bolivian land and launched a rice business there, which he oversaw until his arrest by Bolivian officials in June 2011.

This past April, his fate began to capture national attention, as Ostreicher launched a hunger strike from prison to assert his human rights.

“[Ostreicher] is in a prison governed by chaos,” Jacobs emphasized. “We want justice. We want justice. We want justice.”