American Sits Almost a Year With No Charges in Isolated Bolivian Prison


American Waits in Bolivian Prison; No Charges Filed

When "Nightline" visited, it was a surreal scene, like a small Bolivian village, with shops and even restaurants, and an unmistakable air of menace and fear lurking just beneath the surface.

"I never, never go out at night," Ostreicher said. "It is absolutely frightening, walking around, like what you -- wherever you walked today, at night, it's very scary."

Jacob's wife, Miriam Ungar, comes to visit him frequently in this wild and strange prison. Leaving him to return home is "torture," she said.

"I feel like I'm abandoning him," she said. "The pain of watching him watch me leave, he stands behind the gate, and I just stare at him and I walk backwards, because I don't want him to see my back when I walk out the door, and he sees my anguish, and he runs in to make it easier for me to leave."

The Ostreichers have five children and 11 grandchildren. The little ones don't understand what's happening. Jacob Ostreicher showed us a letter from his granddaughter, in which she wrote, "We keep asking grandma and mommy when you will come home. And they told me they don't know when. Grandpa, who knows the answer? I want you to come home today."

"My family keeps me going, because there's nothing else here," he said. "I'm the only American between 3,500 prisoners."

On the wall in the dining area near his cell, Ostreicher's fellow prisoners painted an American flag for him. It is an emotional talisman for him -- a slender, essential lifeline home.

"It means everything to me," he said. "This is what I got, is my flag. I will never look at the American flag the same way again... basically I'm hoping, one day, I will see this flag in my country."

That day is nowhere in sight.

For more information about Jacob Ostreicher's case, visit his website HERE

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