It has been six months since Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi has been held in a Mexican jail for accidentally crossing the border with weapons in his car. Six months. The man has served two tours in Afghanistan, was not in any way trying to break the law, and couldn’t get out of the lane that sent him straight into a country where you can rot in jail for having an empty .22 shell in your car. When I say rot, I do mean rot. One Christmas, when my husband and I were living in Mexico, we ministered in a Federal prison in Juarez, where if your family does not bring you food, you don’t eat. If your family does not bring you sheets, blankets and clothing, you are stuck. If you have no family in the city where you are incarcerated, then you are at the mercy of the Mexican mafia. I saw all of this with my own eyes.
I also have crossed over from San Diego into Tijuana, and know from experience just how easy it would be to get into the situation in which Andrew found himself.
Andrew’s plight has been kept in the forefront by very few of the media outlets, but this week may have gotten some new coverage by virtue of Montel Williams going to the Hill to plead for him. While I was aware that Montel Williams has been an actor on television, and has had his own talk show for years, I did not know that he is a retired Naval Lt. Commander, nor that he had also been a corporal in the Marines. He is also a graduate of the US Naval Academy, and was in uniform for a total 22 years. He has been in close contact with Andrew’s mother, Jill, and has become the celebrity face of frustration with the way the entire affair has been handled.
While I have made it clear that I wouldn’t wish a Mexican prison on anyone, the travesty is compounded by the fact that Andrew has been diagnosed with PTSD. He has been beaten while in prison, and while I know that PTSD can be effectively treated, it is a certainty that his condition has only been exacerbated and his recovery time will be longer and much more complicated.
There have been over 100,000 petitions signed on Andrew’s behalf, a fact that Lt. Commander Williams emphasized in front of the Armed Services Committee. He pulled no punches when he said, ““To me, this is an abomination,” tearing up at a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Wednesday. “Six months. He didn’t hesitate to say ‘aye aye, sir’ to go up and serve. How dare we. How dare we as a nation hesitate to get that young man back.”
He then spoke a message with command authority to Commander In Chief, President Barak Hussein Obama. “Make the call. Make the call today.” By this, he was referring to the need for the President to call President Enrique Pena Nieto personally and call for Andrew’s release. It was said that at the beginning of the hearings, which occurred on October 1st, that lawmakers were confident that Andrew would be released soon. That is our prayer, not only for Andrew, but for other wounded warriors who may have lost their way in other ways.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner