WASHINGTON — Actor Sean Penn urged a congressional hearing to pressure Bolivia to release a haredi Orthodox father of five under house arrest in the country.
Penn appeared Monday, May 20, at a hearing on the case of Jacob Ostreicher of Brooklyn, who has been held nearly two years in Bolivia on accusations that he was in business with drug traffickers and money launderers. No proof has ever been provided in court.
US Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who has gone to Bolivia in an effort to free Ostreicher, held the hearing.
Penn, an Academy Award winner well known for his social activism, told the hearing that he has spoken to Bolivian President Evo Morales and believes that although Morales has the best of intentions, the judiciary is so corrupt in his country that the president is powerless.