The mother of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, Jill Tahmooressi testified in front of lawmakers Wednesday on Capitol Hill as a personal representative of her son, who has been held captive and tortured in a Mexican prison since April 1, 151 days ago.
Tahmooressi was arrested in Mexico after admittedly making a wrong turn at the border. It was a mistake. When he was pulled over by military officers, he said he was lost and declared firearms legal in the United States were in the vehicle. Instead of turning him around back to the U.S., soldiers arrested him.
"Arrested on weapon and ammunition possession and now incarcerated in a Mexican prison, Andrew is despondent and desperate to be released back to the USA. His PTSD treatment plan has been aborted as Mexico does not have the ability to provide combat related PTSD expressive group therapy, recognized as standard rehabilitation in the USA," she testified. "As often as possible, Andrew phones home via a collect call to seek hope that soon he will be freed."
Sgt. Tahmooressi suffers from PTSD after serving overseas in Afghanistan. During his time there, he helped save an fellow marine who nearly bled to death after stepping on an IED. His PTSD has become significantly worse since his time in prison and in April he told his mother, "Mom. I tried to kill myself because the guards and the inmates were going to rape, torture and eventually execute me for information." He also described being strapped and chained to a bed for 25 days straight and said "his time in Mexico imprisonment has been by far worse than the two combat tours in Afghanistan."
During questioning, Ms. Tahmooressi revealed that not only has President Obama failed to call her personally about the situation, but said she has no knowledge he has called the President of Mexico to negotiate for her son's release.
President of Concerned Veteran's for America Pete Hegseth also testified, drawing a contrast between Obama's efforts to swap deserter Bowe Berghdal for five Taliban terrorists while failing to make a simple phone call to Jill Tahmooressi about her son's status. Hegseth also reminded lawmakers Obama held a Rose Garden event for the parents of Berghdal, but has left Ms. Tahmooressi to fight for the release of her son on her own.
The paradox before this committee, this Congress, and especially this White House, could not be more stark: this administration negotiated with the Taliban, and exchanged five terrorist killers with American blood on their hands, for the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, a soldier who deserted his unit on the front lines less than 2 months into his first tour of duty. Yet this administration has invested little-to-no effort negotiating the return, from a neighboring country, of a highly-decorated Marine with two combat tours?" Hegseth said. "Sgt. Bergdahl cost American lives. Sgt. Tahmooressi saved them. Does this not matter? Will we not fight to bring him home?
It is time to bring our Marine home, and give him the care he has earned."
Since April, more than 134,000 people have signed a petition on WhiteHouse.gov urging the Obama administration to address Sgt. Tahmooressi's unjust treatment and imprisonment. They have yet to respond effectively.
But there is good news. According to Fox News' William LaJeunesse, Sgt. Tahmooressi could be released after an evaluation from a Mexican psychiatrist showing the severity of his PTSD.
This post has been updated with an additional quote.