Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: U.S. Veteran’s Imprisonment, Treatment in Mexico ‘Inexcusable’

By: Jim Turner | Posted: December 14, 2012 3:55 AM

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R- Miami, is spearheading efforts to call on Mexico to release a 27-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran from South Florida who has been in prison since August for carrying a shotgun he had declared at the crossing.

Ros-Lehtinen has started to circulate a letter in Congress urging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to continue working with Mexican authorities, decrying the treatment Jon Hammar has received while at the Centro de Ejecución de Sanciones de Matamoros, Mexico, and seeking his release.

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“Although U.S. officials have told us that Jon is no longer chained to his bed, I have received conflicting reports from Mexican authorities who have clearly told me that Jon must be chained to his bed to prevent his escape,” Ros-Lehtinen has written supporters.

“When I heard about this mistreatment I was outraged. The extortion attempts, the threats, and the wanton disregard by the Mexican authorities for Jon’s basic human rights are inexcusable.”

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, R-Orlando, made a similar call on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

Hammar, who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and now faces up to 15 years in prison, was traveling with a friend in a Winnebago to Costa Rica when he asked U.S. Customs and Border Control in Brownsville, Texas, about a .410 bore old-fashioned Sears & Roebuck shotgun that he inherited from his great-grandfather.

When Hammar reportedly presented registration papers for the gun to Mexican authorities, he was arrested and charged with possession of an assault rifle.

Hammar’s mother, Olivia Hammar, claims the family has received extortion threats as she has taken her son’s situation public in the past week.

Ros-Lehtinen is expected to meet with Clinton next week to discuss Hammar.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

Comments (1)

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