WASHINGTON, October 31, 2014 – The immediate release of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi was ordered by a Mexican his family said late Friday. According to the Sixth District Court of Criminal Proceedings in the Federal State of Baja California in Tijuana, the charges against Tahmooressi were dismissed and he is free to go.
“During my last visit with Andrew in a Mexican prison, I told him the next time I saw him would be during his release to America; I am grateful that I will be able to keep that promise and be with him and Mrs. Tahmooressi as he returns to the United States tonight,” said Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Arizona.
“Andrew is a brave Marine who served his country with honor, and I have long maintained that he has been held in a Mexican prison for far too long, and needed to be returned to the United States to receive proper treatment for the PTSD that he suffers from as a direct result of his heroic service to our nation.”
Tahmooressi, 26, served two tours of duty in Afghanistan was arrested when he accidentally crossed the border between the US and Mexico. He has been held since March 31 as he had three legally-purchased and registered guns in his truck, a .45-caliber pistol, a pump shotgun and an AR-15 rifle.
However the possession of any weapon restricted for the use of the Army is a federal crime in Mexico – regardless of whether visitors declare it or not upon entering the country.
A court-appointed psychiatrist confirmed that Tahmooressi has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and a family spokesman said the judge released him without making a determination on the charge against him.
The family issued the following statement: “It is with an overwhelming and humbling feeling of relief that we confirm that Andrew was released today after spending 214 days in a Mexican Jail.”
Tahmooressi has continually said that he got lost on a California freeway ramp that took him across the border, without the ability to turn around. He immediately declared that he had the guns, did not intend to enter Mexico and asked to return to the US. Tahmooressi mother said that her son had moved to the San Ysidro, California, area to get treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
“He has unresolved, or untreated PTSD, and he cannot get the cognitive therapy behavior that veterans of America receive … in a Mexico jail, where there is no such thing,” his mother had told CNN earlier this year. “He’s highly discouraged there is no light at the end of the tunnel.”
The Marine’s long detention brought calls for his release from U.S. politicians, veterans groups and social media campaigns that were angered as thousands of illegal immigrants crossed the border into the US.
Response to Tahmooressi’s release includes:
“I am elated that Sgt. Tahmooressi has been ordered released from jail in Mexico. This is great, but overdue, news. I am pleased that both Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam and the judge on the case recognize that Sgt. Tahmooressi did not intend to violate Mexican law, and that his combat-related PTSD should be treated by specialists in the United States.” – Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
“I am truly overjoyed to hear the news that our Marine Sgt. Tahmooressi is finally coming home to America. During my last visit with Andrew in a Mexican prison, I told him the next time I saw him would be during his release to America; I am grateful that I will be able to keep that promise and be with him and (his mother) Mrs. Tahmooressi as he returns to the United States tonight.” – Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
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