Tags: Mexico | jail | despondent | PTSD

Andrew Tahmooressi's Mother: Son 'Despondent' in Mexico Prison

By    |   Saturday, 20 Sep 2014 04:19 PM

U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi is "highly despondent" and his mental health has dramatically deteriorated since being held in a Mexican prison for more than six months on a weapons charge, his mother said on Saturday.

"He is lacking confidence that this will end soon and expeditiously," his mother, Jill Tahmooressi, told CNN. "All we have ever asked for is an expeditious due process, since he is a current Marine under contract until 2016.

"And the merits of the case surely point to accidental entry," she said.

Andrew Tahmooressi, 26, is being held at the El Hongo Penitentiary in Tecate, Mexico, CNN reports. He was transferred there after alleging torture at the first prison at which he was incarcerated in May.

The Marine reservist, who served two tours in Afghanistan, was arrested on March 31 at a checkpoint in Tijuana, Mexico. He was found by Mexican customs agents to have three military-grade firearms in his truck, including a .45-caliber pistol, a pump shotgun and an AR-15 rifle, CNN reports.

He says the agents found the guns in the car after he had asked a guard for directions back to the United States and told him that he was traveling with three rifles.

Mexico's federal gun laws are very strict, prohibiting anyone from illegally bringing weapons into the country.

Tahmooressi is facing a Sept. 29 hearing. If convicted he faces up to 21 years in prison.

He has maintained since his arrest that he had taken a wrong turn on the California side of the border into Tijuana. Tahmooressi's mother told CNN in May that her son had moved from Florida to California to obtain 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," Jill Tahmooressi said. "He's highly discouraged there is no light at the end of the tunnel."

She said that prison conditions have improved for her son, but the phone that he had been using there broke this week, limiting his communications with his family and friends.

There is no timetable for his release, CNN reports.

His U.S. attorney, Phillip Dunn, has said that he expects his client to be released within a month because of video evidence of what occurred at the border and a lack of PTSD treatment centers in Mexico.

The case will be the subject of an Oct. 1 hearing on Capitol Hill chaired by GOP California Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Support for Tahmooressi's release has included legislators, activists, and celebrities. They include television talk-show host and mental health advocate Montel Williams.

He has written letters to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, saying that Tahmooressi should be let go because of his declining mental health.

"Yes he broke the law, but he didn't have the capability mentally at the time," Williams told CNN. "It's very easy for you to make one wrong turn. He knows he made a mistake."

Williams, a retired Navy lieutenant commander, is expected to testify at the House panel's hearing, CNN reports.

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U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi is highly despondent and his mental health has dramatically deteriorated since being held in a Mexican prison for more than six months on a weapons charge, his mother said on Saturday. He is lacking confidence that this will end soon...
Mexico, jail, despondent, PTSD
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2014-19-20
Saturday, 20 Sep 2014 04:19 PM
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