Jason Puracal is now a free man after being wrongfully imprisoned in Nicaragua for two years. Jason attributes his freedom to a global effort of people who demanded that justice be upheld. He has now returned home to the Pacific Northwest with his wife and son to begin rebuilding their lives. Jason will continue his contributions to sustainable development, which began during his Peace Corps service in Nicaragua. He is currently studying for his Sustainable MBA degree at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, volunteering at the Innocence Project Northwest, and writing a book with his sister Janis.
JASON’S PROGRAM: Hope from a Son
Jason Puracal speaks about how his wrongful and illegal detainment in a Nicaraguan prison affected his relationship with his family. Jason’s son, Jabu, diagnosed with Downs Syndrome at birth, suffered the most from this injustice. Any parent can relate to Jason’s emotional roller coaster while ripped away from his son’s life. He describes the case in detail, with firsthand accounts from prison that will make you want to take action. Although the story has a happy ending, Jason sheds light on some of the gaps in the American system of justice that need to be addressed.
JANIS PURACAL, a civil attorney in Portland, Oregon, spent two years fighting to save her older brother, Jason, from starvation in a Nicaraguan prison. Jason was freed in Sept ’12 after nearly 2 years in captivity. As just a third-year lawyer, Janis tackled the Nicaraguan and international courts, diplomatic relations in the U.S. and Nicaragua, lobbying on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., and media appearances on a national and international level, including CNN, Reuters, and The Today Show. Since Jason’s release, Janis has continued to work with her brother to advocate for legal reform. In addition to her private practice, she works to engage law students and other community leaders in the fight for freedom and the advancement of human rights.
JANIS’ PROGRAM: A Young Woman’s Story of Strength Janis Puracal, a young Indian woman, speaks about how she broke out of perceptions and bias (both external and internal) to lead an international defense team. Jason’s wrongful arrest and imprisonment forced Janis to break out of the safety of private civil practice and into uncharted waters, tackling everything from diplomatic relations to prison visits in a developing nation. Women are often told they have to compete in a man’s world, but never told how. Janis talks about how she relied on her strengths (and discovered strengths she never knew she had) to not only compete, but ultimately win.
Jason & Janis Puracal
Jason & Janis Interview:
JASON & JANIS’ JOINT PROGRAM: Lesssons Learned
In this unique dual perspective, Jason and Janis Puracal describe the major challenges presented and overcome during Jason’s wrongful imprisonment. Jason gives details about what is like to be an innocent man inside a deadly Central American prison with little-to-no access to the outside world, while Janis gives the behind-the-scenes details of how she coped as both a sister and a young lawyer with the biggest case of her career that was widely considered doomed to fail. Jason’s story gives hope to any person facing adversity. In addition, Janis’s determined approach to freeing her brother provides valuable insight into our relationships with individuals as well as other countries. You will be amazed not only by their story, but also the strength of this family.
Jason Puracal, a Seattle native, is the embodiment of hope and resilience. Jason spent 22 months being slowly starved to death in a Nicaraguan prison before he was finally released and sent home to the US in September of 2012. Jason had moved to Nicaragua with the Sustainable Agriculture sector of the United States Peace Corps after graduating from the University of Washington with a dual degree in zoology and economics. He was sent to the rural mountains of Nicaragua to teach the local farmers the advantages of organic, sustainable methods. He fell in love with the country, started working in sustainable development & real estate, and married a local woman. The American dream in tropical paradise came crashing down when he was violently kidnapped by Nicaraguan police on November 11, 2010. This started a 22 month fight for his freedom and his life.
Accused of crimes he did not commit, and in a case without one single piece of incriminating evidence, Jason Puracal was subjected to torturous and inhumane conditions in La Modelo, the maximum security prison in Nicaragua infamous for rampant civil, constitutional, and human rights violations. Apart from the brutal prison conditions, Jason suffered emotionally under the strain of being separated from his son, who suffers from Downs Syndrome, and his wife. Jason’s sister, Janis Puracal, a civil attorney in the United States, led an international campaign to bring her brother home. Janis, with the support of thousands around the globe, was able to reach the highest levels of government in the United States and Nicaragua. The case was followed on CNN, The Today Show, The New York Times, and numerous other media outlets in the US and abroad.
Jason Puracal is now a free man after being wrongfully imprisoned in Nicaragua for nearly two years. Jason attributes his freedom to a global effort of people who demanded that justice be upheld. He has now returned home to the Pacific Northwest with his wife and son to begin rebuilding their lives. Jason will continue his contributions to sustainable development, which began during his Peace Corps service in Nicaragua. He is currently studying for his Sustainable MBA degree at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, volunteering at the Innocence Project Northwest, and working with his sister, Janis, to push for legal reform.