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Rohrabacher: Obama Should Work to Free U. S. Marine Jailed in Mexico

Jun 6, 2014

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher on Thursday visited the American consul general in Tijuana, Mexico, for a briefing on the status of U. S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who on March 31 took a wrong turn across the border and has been confined to a prison cell since.

Tahmooressi, who served in Afghanistan, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may account for his suicide attempt while in jail. The case has generated tremendous media attention in the U. S., and last week’s negotiated release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from his Taliban captors, in exchange for five top terrorists in Afghanistan, heightens a focus on Tahmooressi’s plight.

Rohrabacher also has been working to free Dr. Shakil Afridi, who was sent to a Pakistan prison after helping American forces locate the hiding place of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

“President Obama personally releases five terrorists in order to free a deserter,” said the congressman, “but he won’t do anything to free Dr Afridi, who fingered the murderer of 3,000 Americans, and he won’t even make one phone call to save a U. S. Marine jailed in Mexico.”

Rohrabacher added that Obama’s failure would harm U. S.-Mexican relations.

“If Sgt. Tahmooressi isn’t freed soon,” he said, “Congress will act and there will be a stoppage of commerce across the border. There is no reason to withhold help from an honest U. S. Marine who accidentally crossed the border and now is kept in a Mexican jail with no end in sight.

“Certainly the Mexican government has a right to be concerned when they find an American armed with an assault rifle in their country.  This case, however, resulted from taking a wrong turn at the border by an American who had no intention of going to Mexico or breaking Mexican law.

“I retraced the Marine’s route,” Rohrabacher said, “and found out how very easy it is to take a wrong turn and end up in Mexico. Mexicans and Americans are good friends and we should go out of our way to understand each other in instances like this.”

The consul general, Andrew Erickson, also briefed the congressman on coastal security and trafficking of humans, arms, and drugs across the border.