Mexican Judge Orders Release of Jailed U.S. Marine
TIJUANA, Mexico (CNN)-
The family of U.S. Marine reservist Andrew Paul Tahmooressi, who’d been held for seven months in a Mexican prison, is “overjoyed” he’s been released.
“It is with an overwhelming and humbling feeling of relief that we confirm that Andrew was released today after spending 214 days in Mexican jail,” relatives said in a statement Friday night.
A court ordered that Tahmooressi, who’d been held on weapons charges, be freed, a Mexican federal government press release said.
Tahmooressi was arrested March 31 at a Tijuana, Mexico, checkpoint after Mexican customs agents found three firearms in his truck, including a .45-caliber pistol, a pump shotgun and an AR-15 rifle.
Mexico’s strict federal gun laws prohibit anyone from illegally bringing weapons into the country.
Tahmooressi family spokesman Jonathan Franks said Friday night in a statement: “The family is overjoyed. They are asking for privacy at this time.”
The court said it found no cause to prosecute Tahmooressi on charges of carrying two firearms used exclusively by the military, possessing cartridges used exclusively by the military and carrying a firearm without a license
The court also recommended he be treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.
His mother, Jill, told CNN in May that Tahmooressi, who served with the Marines in Afghanistan, had moved to the San Ysidro, California, area to get 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,” his mother told CNN earlier this year.
Since his arrest, Tahmooressi has maintained that he took a wrong turn on the California side of the border into Tijuana and accidentally crossed the border.
In an interview with CNN, Tahmooressi described a suicide attempt with a shattered light bulb after being punched, slapped, cursed at, deprived of water and food, and shackled to a bed with a four-point restraint in a Mexican prison.
“I had one hand above my head, not both, just one,” he told CNN. “I was laying on a bed. … When I got the opportunity, I decided to stab myself in the neck with a light bulb … I was paranoid. I had been abused. I was thinking they were going to come and abuse me more and torture me and get information about my family from me. So I said, ‘I’m not going to allow them to do that.’ “
Tahmooressi said conditions improved after media coverage of his plight.
Mexican prison authorities have denied the abuse allegations.
The Richardson Center for Global Engagement said in a Facebook posting that Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico, visited Tahmooressi last week at El Hongo federal prison in Mexico and was instrumental in securing his release.
U.S. Reps. Ed Royce (R-California) and Matt Salmon (R-Arizona) issued statements thanking Mexican authorities for showing compassion.
“[Tahmooressi] is a hero who served his country bravely on the battlefields of Afghanistan, which is why so many Americans have been focused on getting him home,” said Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.