Senator calls on Mexico to release ex-Marine
December 11, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) took to the Senate floor today to urge the Mexican government to release a 27-year-old former Marine being held in a Matamoros, Mexico prison.
During his noon-time remarks, Nelson called on Mexican authorities to send Jon Hammar “back to America and back to his family in Miami.”
Hammar is a Floridian who saw action in Fallujah, Iraq and once worked a security detail for Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. He was honorably discharged from the Marines in 2007.
Hammar’s ordeal began when he and a friend took off in a Winnebago for a surfing trip to Costa Rica. According to Hammar’s mother, surfing has been a release for him since he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Upon crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in August, Hammar and his traveling companion were arrested by Mexican authorities for bringing a shotgun, once owned by Hammar’s great-grandfather, into the country. During his time in prison, Hammar’s family says their son has been handcuffed to a bed and faced death threats from other inmates.
Mexican authorities are prosecuting Hammar for possession of a deadly weapon - a charge his lawyer says could result in a 12-year prison term if found guilty. According to the family, Hammar was told by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that he could bring the gun into Mexico if it was registered and a fee was paid.
“Now, enough is enough,” Nelson said on the Senate floor. “ … I’m bringing this to the attention of the Senate so that we can further get through to the Mexican government.”
And, this afternoon Sen. Nelson spoke to Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhán. The ambassador told Nelson he’s asking his country’s attorney general for an explanation as to why it’s taken since August to resolve Jon Hammar’s case.