South American prisoners
South American prisoners Reuters

A large scale campaign is being mounted for saving Jewish businessman Yaakov Ostreicher of Borough Park, Brooklyn.

The 53-year-old flooring contractor from Brooklyn was arrested by Bolivian authorities over 18 months ago and is accused of laundering drug money after he started a rice cultivation business in the country. He is being held without trial and no evicence of his guilt has been proffered by authorities.

He has been hospitalized in recent weeks with serious pneumonia from which he is having difficulty recovering. His medical condition sparked the current campaign that calls for his release – or at the very least for his release to house arrest pending his trial. The campaign organizers believe the reason for his arrest is simply anti-Semitism.

Next Sabbath has been declared "the Shabbat for saving Yaakov Ostreicher" and synagogues throughout the U.S. will hold prayers for his release. Along with the prayers, a diplomatic campaign will be launched.

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind explained: "After seeing that despite all of the efforts that were made, there is no sign that his release is imminent, and after it has become clear that he is innocent of all the crimes he is being accused of and that the law enforcement authorities are presenting no evidence or proof, and because of the concern over his health – we cannot continue in the routine of life and therefore we decided to launch a global campaign, in which we unite the entire public in amss prayer and an uncompromising struggle that will not end until we see Rav Yaakov Ostreicher returning home safe and sound."