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Lawmakers visit Marine held in Mexico, say sergeant 'needs to come home'

 

Two Republican lawmakers visited a Marine sergeant held in a Mexican jail Saturday, with one of them saying that the serviceman "needs to come home."

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., and Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., visited Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi at the El Hongo II prison in Tecate, Mexico. Tahmooressi has been held there since March on gun charges after he accidentally crossed over the Mexican border with three legally purchased guns in his pickup truck. Tahmooressi, who suffers from PTSD, served two tours in Afghanistan.

"I found him to be in good spirits, but this visit confirmed my belief that Sgt. Tahmooressi ... needs to come home," Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement. "While I remain respectful of Mexico's laws, today after I thanked him for his dedicated service, I assured Sgt. Tahmooressi that I will continue working to secure his release so that he can begin needed treatment for his PTSD."

Later Saturday, a picture of the two congressmen with Tahmooressi was posted on the Twitter page of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Tahmooressi has alleged that he has been mistreated at the hands of his Mexican captors, accusing his guards of stripping him naked and tying him to a bed, as well as tightening his cuffs until his ankles bled after an escape attempt. 

On Wednesday, Tahmooressi's mother, Jill, said that she had hired Mexican defense attorney Fernando Benitez Alvarez del Castillo. Castillo is the 25-year-old Tahmooressi's third defense attorney in as many weeks. 

"I remain confident that his situation is improving and will end with his release in the near future," a statement from Salmon read. "His spirits remain upbeat and he has full confidence in his new attorney."

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