Penn urges US to pressure Bolivia to free US man

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Associated Press

Posted on May 20, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 21 at 12:05 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Actor Sean Penn is urging the U.S. government to pressure Bolivia to free an American businessman jailed there since 2011.

Penn says international pressure is what Bolivian President Evo Morales needs to free Jacob Ostreicher of New York.

Ostreicher was granted house arrest in December after being jailed 18 months without being charged with any crime. He was arrested in a money laundering case in June 2011 while he was trying to salvage a rice-growing venture.

Penn spoke Monday before a congressional committee looking at Ostreicher's case.

Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey says Ostreicher is the victim of a network of people in government who are extorting him and who took away his company.

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