The mother of a U.S. Marine jailed in Mexico for inadvertently driving across the border with weapons that are legal in the U.S., is inviting concerned Americans to write to her son.
Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been held in Mexico since March, is in solitary confinement in a detention center were he has limited access to media but is allowed to receive letters, said his mother, Jill Tahmooressi.
Jill Tahmooressi said the letters would be an encouragement to her son.
“He needs to continue to hear from his supporters here in America, so that’s why we are asking for the public to write to him,” she said. “He has absolutely no distraction in that Mexican jail. Solitary confinement, no radio, no television; he is only allowed one book at a time, but he is allowed letters.
“So we encouraging the American people to write him letters because it keeps him connected … so he knows that he has not been forgotten.”
The Marine’s most recent hearing, held this week, was followed by a fundraiser for his legal defense.
At the hearing, Fernando Benitez presented further defense evidence that Tahmooressi’s rights under the Mexican Constitution were violated.
Two Mexican customs officials and two military personnel examined Tahmooressi’s prolonged detention at the border and the legality of the search warrant to search his vehicle.
Philip R. Dunn, a 30-year criminal defense attorney and president of Serving California, a faith-based, nonprofit organization committed to assisting veterans, crime victims, incarcerated inmates, and their families and communities, is assisting the Tahmooressi family.
Members helped Andrew’s mother hire their new attorney, Benitez, who represented the decorated veteran Monday in the Mexican court.
In an interview with WND, Jill Tahmooressi said she’s grateful for help.
She said she is feeling "tried, but sure."
"I still have faith. It's God's perfect timing. I know that Andrew is going to get out. So I am hanging in there and trying to keep Andrew optimistic."
The Fox News Channel's Tamara Holder joined the Smart Life program to discuss this weeks' hearing and expressed concern that the public outrage directed at Mexico might have a negative impact on the sergeant's release.
Jill Tahmooressi said she is aware of the concern and is trying to be respectful.
"I've been very careful to be respectful of Mexico's law. All I have asked for from the very beginning is an expedited due process for Andrew," she said.
She said that both she and Andrew respect Mexico's right to its own rule of law and to due process even though Andrew merely made a mistake.
She wants to remain positive and to thank the American people.
"It's amazing, coast to coast, I feel like my family has grown," she said. " … I now have this universe of a family. I know Andrew feels it, because I read to him the prayers and support messages. … He is so appreciative. That has been the most amazing thing … how America can rally together for this Marine."
She talked about Andrew's older sister, who is diving into her career as a chiropractor. Jill Tahmooressi says his sister prays ardently for Andrew, and she is staying hopeful.
Tahmooressi originally was held in La Mesa prison, where he endured severe abuse and death threats. He's currently being held in El Hongo II State Correctional Facility, 40 kilometers southeast of Tecate, where he now has a 24-hour guard and receives regular visits from chaplains with Prison Fellowship and Baja Christian Ministries.
Jill Tahmooressi said his faith has been his rock, and his visits with his chaplains have been his strength during a very lonely, and trying time.
He spent Independence Day alone except for an opportunity to walk around an open area for a limited time.
The Tahmooressi family hopes that by Labor Day, their nightmare will be over.
Jill Tahmooressi plans a "grand family celebration" for Andrew's homecoming in their south Florida home, and then she says he will get quickly back into his PTSD recovery plan at a Christian treatment facility in California.
They are still waiting for President Obama’s response to their 135,000-strong petition signed at WhitehHouse.gov. Thus far, they have heard nothing.
"Andrew has lost his life's savings over this ordeal, because we are [with] attorney number three," she explained.
Supporters of the Tahmooressi family have created an official fundraising site to collect donations to offset the cost of his legal defense. To donate, or to sign the petition, visit AndrewFreedomFund.com. Contributions and letters can also be mailed to:
Andrew Tahmooressi Liberty Fund
5722 S. Flamingo Road #114
Cooper City FL 33330-3206M