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October 10, 2015 / 27 Tishri, 5776
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Three US Jews Still Held Hostage Overseas

53-year-old Brooklyn flooring contractor Jacob Ostreicher.

53-year-old Brooklyn flooring contractor Jacob Ostreicher.

At the very least, Turner believes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “has to send a letter to [the Bolivians] that she has reviewed [Ostreicher’s] case personally” and that she has concluded Ostreicher’s incarceration is unjust on both Bolivian legal and humanitarian grounds.

This past June, Congressman Smith attended a hearing with Ostreicher during which a Bolivian judge passed the matter on to a higher court – a move “likely guaranteeing more months of delay,” according to the New Jersey legislator.

“Jacob has been cooperative, patient to the extreme,” Smith said in a statement. “There is no evidence offered against him. The rule of law must prevail in Bolivia. Innocent people must have a path to justice.”

* * *

Warren Weinstein’s case differs from those of Gross and Ostreicher in that he is a hostage rather than a prisoner. A 71-year-old aid worker from Rockville, Md., he has been held captive by al Qaeda since August 2011 after being abducted from his home in Lahore, Pakistan. According to police reports at the time, eight to 10 men approached Weinstein’s house on a ploy, tied up Weinstein’s three guards, and took him away.

Warren Weinstein

At the time of his capture, Weinstein had been working in Pakistan for several years as a director of J.E. Austin Associates, a U.S.-based development contractor that advises different Pakistani business and government sectors.

A number of videos have been released since Weinstein’s capture. Late last year, the leader of al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, said in a video statement that Weinstein would be released if the U.S. stopped airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. Al-Zawahri also demanded the release of all al Qaeda and Taliban suspects around the world.

This May, Weinstein appeared in another video in which he said he would be killed unless Obama agreed to al Qaeda’s demands. The White House has refused to negotiate with al Qaeda.

In September, Weinstein’s captors released a third video in which Weinstein is seen looking exhausted while wearing a plain white t-shirt in front of a military fatigue backdrop, and he makes a direct appeal “as one Jew to another” to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work with the Mujahedeen for his release.

Weinstein’s case has so far flown largely under the radar of the American public and the Jewish community. Outside of some media coverage of his videos, little action has been taken to facilitate his release.

Mike Redwood, a leather industry expert who worked with Weinstein in Pakistan, told JNS.org that Weinstein “was very professional and certainly one of the best in the area I have ever worked with.”

“He was a true family man…. He was clearly deeply committed to the work he was doing,” Redwood wrote in an e-mail.

On the anniversary of Weinstein’s capture on Aug. 13, his wife, Elaine, issued a statement appealing for his freedom. She said he suffers from a number of serious medical ailments, including a heart condition, severe asthma and high blood pressure, and she fears his health “will deteriorate if he is not allowed to see the doctors and specialists that have helped keep him alive in recent years.”


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