(posted Sept. 12, 7:00 p.m.)-Nicaraguan lawyer Fabbrith Gómez, defense attorney for incarcerated U.S. citizen Jason Puracal, has confirmed that the Appeals Court of Granada this afternoon handed down a verdict absolving his client of all charges of money laundering, drug trafficking and organized crime.
“There is a sentence and a judicial order to free Jason Puracal,” Gómez told The Nicaragua Dispatch moments ago.
Judicial spokeswoman Maria Elena Campos could not immediately confirm the report. She said that as of 2 p.m. today when she left work there was still not verdict. But she deferred to Gómez, saying, “Listen to him, he’d be the first to know.”
The judge’s order to release Puracal will now go the Minister of the Interior, which controls the prison system. The execution of the judge’s order could still take several days. In some cases, the Ministry of the Interior has been known to delay the execution of release orders for weeks or months.
Though there is a chance that Puracal could be released in the next 24 hours, it might be a slight chance as the government prepares to go on holiday Friday for a long weekend of Independence Day celebrations. On the other hand, the government might want to avoid any more bad international press by moving quickly to release Puracal before the weekend.
Otherwise, Puracal’s independence day celebration—after nearly two years in a Nicaraguan jail cell for a crime he did not commit—might have to wait.