Congress Holds Hearing on Iranian American Marine Held in Mexican Custody
October 8, 2014, Washington, D.C. – On October 1, 2014, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere held a hearing to examine the case of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, an Iranian American Marine and Afghanistan combat veteran, who has been held in Mexican custody since April 2014.
According to media reports, Tahmooressi made a wrong turn at a poorly-marked crossing and was arrested by Mexican border officials who found three legally purchased and registered firearms in his truck. His family has expressed deep concern over his safety in prison and has initiated a White House petition for the administration’s support. According to his mother, Tahmooressi, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, has faced death and rape threats while he has been in custody over the past six months.
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ-5), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-2nd), and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairmen Ed Royce (R-CA-39) opened the hearing by expressing their concern for Tahmooressi’s health and safety, and urged for his return to the United States. Some of the other panelists who followed these remarks included: Tahmooressi’s mother and television personality and veterans’ advocate, Montel Williams.
Throughout the hearing, committee members urged for the passage of House Resolution 620. The non-binding legislation, introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX-2nd), expresses that the government of Mexico should release Tahmooressi and provide for his return to the U.S. in order for him to receive immediate medical treatment as well as urging the President to utilize the full powers of his office to secure Tahmooresi’s release.
Offering a beacon of hope at last week’s hearing, Rep. Salmon and Rep. Royce revealed that they have spoken with the Mexican Attorney General who has the authority to dismiss Tahmooressi’s case based on humanitarian grounds once expert testimony confirms Tahmooressi’s PTSD.
Recent reports this week indicate that Tahmooressi could be released from prison soon; however, the date for his release is still to be determined.
Click here to watch video of the hearing.
Click here to read PAAIA’s statement on the detention of Tahmooressi.