November 6, 2014, Washington, D.C. – After spending seven months in a Mexican prison on weapons trafficking charges, Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi was reunited with his family last weekend.
Tahmooressi, an Iranian American Marine and Afghanistan combat veteran, had been held in Mexican custody since April 1st, 2014. Tahmooressi was arrested by Mexican border officials after making a wrong turn at a poorly-marked crossing and found carrying legally purchased weapons in his truck. During his detention, Tahmooressi was unable to obtain the necessary treatment for the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) incurred during his two combat tours in Afghanistan.
PAAIA had issued a public statement asking for an expedited release of Marine Tahmooressi’s based on humanitarian grounds and urging the State Department to bring an expeditious resolution to this matter.
Tahmooressi’s repatriation was the result of the cooperative diplomatic efforts from members of Congress, U.S. officials, and other advocates. Instrumental to his release from Mexican custody were former Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico as well as U.S. Representatives Ed Royce (CA-R-39) and Matt Salmon (AZ-R
–1). The three officials, along with veterans’ advocate Montel Williams, traveled to Mexico last week to meet with Mexico’s Attorney General and U.S. Ambassador to lobby for Tahmooressi’s freedom.
Shortly thereafter, a Mexican judge released Tahmooressi based on humanitarian grounds citing his PTSD and the lack of adequate care that could be provided in Mexico. He was discharged on Friday night and flown in a private jet back to his family’s home in Florida. He is said to be in high-spirits after reunification with his family.
PAAIA applauds the diplomatic efforts that resulted in Tahmooressi’s release. As an organization that represents the interests of Iranian Americans, PAAIA seeks to protect Iranian Americans’ right to unlawful detention and harassment when traveling outside the United States.
Click here to read PAAIA’s statement on the detention of Tahmooressi.