The Governor and the Marine
By Synnove Bakke | The Save Jersey Blog
Governor Chris Christie is going to Mexico in September, Save Jerseyans. Some say it’s part of his bid to run for president in 2016. We’ll see.
Immigration remains the topic de jour; the Governor’s people say he’s going to discuss trade relations. That being said, I hope he keeps in mind there’s a decorated US Marine by the name of Andrew Tahmooressi languishing in a Mexican prison.
While he visits, I would love to see the Governor privately ask the Mexican president to find a way to pardon and release him. In fact, I hope he already has that planned.
The Governor should understand.
Back in 2010, Governor Christie himself commuted a jailed man’s sentence to time served. The Colorado man was arrested and was looking at a 7 years prison sentence. Not unlike Andrew, this man had no bad intent, but while moving from CO to NJ, he had stored his legal firearms in the trunk of his car. Our Governor is reasonable when it comes to Second Amendment issues, has a very strong sense of justice and, best of all, he’s not afraid to speak up and take action when he sees injustice.
The push for bail reform should be proof enough!
Here’s the background on this story to date: Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi says he accidentally crossed the border from U.S. into Mexico due to poor signage but called 911 while it happened and explained his situation to the operator. He had legally owned firearms in his trunk. However, since Mexico doesn’t recognize US gun laws and have zero tolerance for private gun possession, he was immediately detained and then jailed.
Andrew previously traveled from Florida to San Diego to seek VA evaluation, where he was diagnosed with PTSD in early March and had started a treatment plan. He was house hunting and, on March 31st, got lost when he made a wrong turn. He entered into a customs lane and had no means to turn around.
The conditions in the jail are horrible. His Mom reported and at one point he was restrained to a bed for 35 days. Andrew served two tours in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2012.
Representatives in Congress have signed a resolution introduced by Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX). H.Res 620 calls for Mexico to immediately release Andrew, so he can receive the medical treatment he needs back home. Kudos to N.J. Congressmen Chris Smith, Frank LoBiondo, Leonard Lance and Albio Sires who all signed on to this resolution. Bringing back this Marine is not a partisan issue; it’s a matter of protecting those that have risked their lives to serve our country. It boggles my mind to see any representative missing from this list. I have called N.J. Reps offices and I know many others are very actively reaching out to their representatives in their states. Tahmooressi’s family is asking people to contact their Representatives and get them on board.
A Change.org petition created by Andrew’s Mom, Jill Tahmooressi, appeals to Secretary of State, John Kerry, Mexican Attorney General, and Obama to help release him. The petition reached the required 20K signatures quickly and now has 179,811 signatures.
Facebook and Twitter have been flooded by sympathetic members posting about Andrew’s case, and it’s touching to see that so many Americans care so deeply about him. I found a request by his family’s official twitter page, @FreeTheMarine, asking for people to send him letters in support and I hope the prison is flooded with them.
His mother Jill says Andrew is going through his savings and need money for his defense. There have been hearings in front of a judge but no resolution yet. According to Military.com, Andrew’s attorney is filing a dismissal of evidence request this week, but Andrews Mom told Greta Van Susteren that she is worried the case will drag on for many more months. She is not sure her son can mentally handle the prospect of it, so she doesn’t have the heart to tell him.
Several celebrities have gotten involved and are bringing lots of extra attention to Andrew’s cause on Social Media.
Among those are former talk show host and veteran, Montel Williams. He says on his Twitter page, @Montel_Williams, that he communicated with Andrews’s attorney who told him they are working closely with the U.S. State Department but also says it’s important to keep the story alive in the media.
Andrew’s Mom has obviously gone through hell and back, telling CNN in May that “The brutality of being unjustly in a foreign prison, is worse than any experience I had with him serving 2 tours in Afghanistan. He was willing to die for his country as a Marine. Where is his country now when he needs it the most?”
Col. Oliver North (Ret) expressed harsh words for Obama in hsi recent article, Marine Held in Mexico. The retired military commander believes President Obama could easily get Andrew released; in fact, he alleges that Obama is breaking the law by failing to act.
U.S. Code, Title 22, Chapter 23, Section 1732, entitled, “Release of citizens imprisoned by foreign governments,” provides the basis for North’s accusation:
“Whenever it is made known to the President that any citizen of the United States has been unjustly deprived of his liberty by or under the authority of any foreign government, it shall be the duty of the President forthwith to demand of that government the reasons of such imprisonment; and if it appears to be wrongful and in violation of the rights of American citizenship, the President shall forthwith demand the release of such citizen, and if the release so demanded is unreasonably delayed or refused, the President shall use such means, not amounting to acts of war and not otherwise prohibited by law, as he may think necessary and proper to obtain or effectuate the release; and all the facts and proceedings relative thereto shall as soon as practicable be communicated by the President to Congress.”
Here’s to hoping enough American officials and citizens gets involved before Andrew suffers any further. Moreover, Mexico needs to feel sufficient international pressure such that they see no other alternative but to release this decorated hero and U.S. Marine. The engagement of Governor Christie’s formidable personality certainly couldn’t hurt!
Family website www.Freetahmoressi.com
Donation website: Andrew Freedom Fund
Address for letter to Andrew:
Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi
Carretera Libre Rumorasa Tecate
Sn Fransisco Villa, El Hongo 2,
21452 Tecate, Baja California Norte, Mexico
(only white paper, max 3 pages)