Ariz. family rallies to free Marine from Mexican jail

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by Jaime Cerreta

Bio | Email | Follow: @CerretaNews

azfamily.com

Posted on May 31, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 3 at 12:23 PM

PHOENIX -- Friends and family of a Marine jailed in Mexico gathered in Phoenix Saturday morning to try to get Sen. John McCain to intervene on his behalf.

It's been two months since Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi brought three guns across the Mexican border by accident. Since then, his calls for help have fallen on deaf ears.

Now, his aunt and cousin, who live in Glendale, are joining the fight to bring Tahmooressi home. They made signs hoping to get the attention of Arizona lawmakers with a rally at the offices of McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake.

"He's lonely and sad, and he's hungry. He told his sister all he's given to eat is bread and sugar water," said Tahmooressi's aunt, Beth Whitney.

Tahmooressi had walked into Tijuana to shop but when he got back into his car on the United States side of the border, he missed his exit to San Diego and ended up back in Mexico with three guns in his truck. The guns are allowed in the U.S. but not legal to bring into Mexico.

"Then his truck was all of a sudden surrounded by, he said, like 20 military people, who all had his weapons drawn at him," Whitney said.

He was thrown in a Mexican jail on March 31.

"In the first prison, he was beaten. He was stripped naked and chained at four points," said Whitney.

He's been moved to another jail, where he's kept in isolation. Tahmooressi had a court date for next week but fired his lawyer after he said the attorney told him to lie.

"I don't know how he's lasted because that seems pretty harsh, and I would be really scared and I wouldn't know what to do if I were him right now," said Tahmooressi's 13-year-old cousin, Karen Whitney.

Now, the family here in America is desperate. They want attention on Tahmooressi's case, and they want President Barack Obama to get involved.

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Arizona congressman says jailed Marine doing well

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon says a Marine veteran who has been in a Mexico prison on weapons charges is doing well.

Salmon says he was able to visit Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi on Saturday at el Hongo II prison in Tijuana and the 25-year-old seemed in good spirits.

The congressman says he is confident Tahmooressi will be treated respectfully.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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