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12-15-2012, 12:53 AM #1
Mexican businessmen rally for imprisoned U.S.Marine
Mexican businessmen rally for imprisoned U.S. Marine
Lynn Brezosk, Express-News
By Lynn Brezosky
Updated 7:50 pm, Friday, December 14, 2012
BROWNSVILLE — A group representing more than 14,000 businessmen in northern Mexico is pleading for the release of U.S. Marine Jon Hammar, warning his “unfair” imprisonment for carrying an antique shotgun on his way to a surfing vacation will further devastate an already struggling tourism market.
Hammar has been locked up since August, with limited communication to his family in Florida and even less hope of being released before Christmas.
News of his incarceration is playing as widely in Mexico as it is in the United States, Acevedo said.
“I believe we are the first voice inside Mexico to demand justice,” said Gerardo Acevedo Danache, a Matamoros, Mexico, lawyer who is vice president for the Matamoros and the state of Tamaulipas chambers of commerce. “It's bad that you promote your country, you try to get tourists, and when you get the tourists, you put them in jail,” he said.
Consular officials first informed his parents about his arrest. Days later, they got a call from the prison demanding money, they said. They have since learned that the prison is under control of drug gangs.
On Thursday, consular officials told Hammar that the holiday season could bring his case to a temporary halt, his mother, Olivia Hammar, said.
While their attorney has reported good signs from Mexico's administration, the Hammars say they are in the dark.
“We have not been contacted by the Mexican government, so I think that's speculation at this point,” she said Friday. “If it's happening, it's happening as an internal thing in Mexico, and they're not sharing that with us.”
Hammar, 27, and a fellow veteran in August set out on a road trip to Costa Rica in a Winnebago loaded with surfboards and camping gear. They crossed the border at Brownsville, Texas, on Aug. 15. Hammar packed an old Sears shotgun that belonged to his great-grandfather, and asked a Customs and Border Protection officer about crossing with the gun, his father, Jon Hammar, said.
According to family attorney Eddie Varon-Levy, Mexican law prohibits shotguns with barrels measuring less than 25 inches, as they can easily be concealed. They are also a type used by Mexican military. Hammar's measured 24 inches.
“The possession of any weapon restricted for the use of the Army in Mexico is a federal crime, regardless of whether you declare it or not upon entering the country, and must be automatically prosecuted,” said Ricardo Alday, spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C.
“Mr. Hammar has been in contact with U.S. Consular officials in Mexico who have regularly visited him,” Alday added. “Mr. Hammar's defense has had the opportunity to present every evidence it has deemed relevant to the process.”
Hammar's father visited the federal prison in September.
“He was angry, he was stoic, he was guarded,” the elder Hammar said. “He didn't want to tell us anything for fear of retribution. He was angry I was there, for fear of my safety.”
By all accounts, Hammar's time in prison has been harrowing. The surfing trip was meant to be a way to recharge following treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder from tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was honorably discharged from the military in 2007.
“Surfing was part of his therapy,” his father said.
The family initially kept the story from the media, fearing publicity would endanger their son.
They changed their mind when, on Nov. 23, when he was interrogated without his lawyer and pressured to plead guilty, they said.
CBP spokesman Michael Friel said the agency did not comment on the specifics of an individual's processing, but that “CBP does not provide advice regarding the laws of foreign governments.”
State Department spokesman Peter Velasco said the agency's website offered detailed information and cautions on travel to Mexico.
“This issue does often come up, the issue of firearms, ammunition, and the fact that the laws in Mexico are so different from the laws in the United States, and we do try to encourage people to familiarize themselves with those laws,” he said. “Sounds like he did, sounds like he was trying to go through the proper procedures, but I don't know the specifics of this case.”
Acevedo said about 160 people from the statewide chamber met Thursday to compose a letter to President Enrique Peña Nieto requesting Hammar be pardoned, and that the pardon happen before Dec. 25.
Acevedo, from the chambers of commerce, said they want Hammar released now.
“He entered our country with legal documents. He proved that he was a tourist on his way to Central America. And he was detained on a technicality,” Acevedo said. “This is more than a technicality. This is more than just tourists. I think this is a human tragedy and human tragedies have no borders.”
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12-15-2012, 12:58 PM #2
They are probably getting nervous. Last night on the O"Reily Factor, Bill O'Reily interviewed Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. He is calling for a boycott of Mexico if this isn't resolved. Interesting.
December 14, 2012
Mexico insulting every single American citizen
Talking Points 12/14
Watch this video - Ileana Ros-Lehtinen say the prison is being run by the Drug lords and points out that every President of Mexico and complains about the treatment of their illegals in The US Ros-Lehtinen says - Hogwash. There is an annoying ad at the beginning.
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Extortion call, somber visit bring nightmare home for parents of Marine jailed in Mex