The mother of a Marine jailed in Mexico on charges of bringing weapons into the country says her son tried to kill himself in detention after receiving threats of rape, torture and execution.
She says the Afghanistan veteran has post-traumatic stress but is now suffering a worse ordeal.
Jill Tahmooressi was testified Wednesday before a House panel, along with television personality and former Marine Montel Williams.
Lawmakers want Mexico’s government to release Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi on humanitarian grounds. Tahmooressi, who is now in the reserves, was arrested six months ago at a San Diego-Tijuana checkpoint after Mexican officials say they found a rifle, shotgun, pistol and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in his pickup truck. The 26-year-old says he was headed to dinner in San Ysidro, California, when he mistakenly wound up at the border crossing. He says all three guns were legally owned and were in his truck with all his other possessions as he had just moved from Florida.
An emotional Williams made a plea to President Barack Obama.
“If this hearing is going to stop in the next 10 minutes, I think the president needs to pick up the phone in 15. Make the call! Make the call today. If you’re not going to call President Nieto, call this woman.” Williams said while pointing to Jill Tahmooressi.
Mexican justice officials say possession of weapons restricted for Army use is a federal crime.
Jill Tahmooressi read a series of what sounded like text messages or phone calls from her son, which she referred to as “quotes.”
“Mom, I got lost. I made a wrong turn. I’m at the Mexican border. You need to know this because I’ve been surrounded by military,” he told her on March 31 at 11:45 p.m. A day later: “Mom, I’ve been arrested. Please secure me an attorney.”
The situation quickly got worse. On April 5, Tahmooressi told his mother, “I’m not going to make it through the night. Whatever you do, do not come down here to investigate. Do not come down here to ask questions. You will be killed as well. I need you to go underground. I need you to cancel your bank accounts.”
Nine days later: “Mom, I tried to kill myself because the guards and the inmates were going to rape, torture and execute me for personal information. I needed to protect you.”
After another week, he said: “Mom, it’s been 25 days. I’ve been in four-point chain restraint spread-eagle on a cot in the infirmary.”