A former US marine, jailed in Mexico after illegally crossing the border with an antique shotgun, has been released, a Florida congresswoman said in a statement.Jon Hammar, 27, a south Florida resident and a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was arrested after entering Mexico on his way to Costa Rico for a surfing vacation. In Mexico, shotguns are reserved for military use.
60-eight US lawmakers, including Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from south Florida, wrote to Mexican authorities this week seeking information and calling for Hammar’s release.
Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement Friday that Hammar “has been released from Matamoros prison and is back safely in the United States.”
Hammar was set free after a Mexican court ruled that he did not intend to break the law when he entered the country with the shotgun, Mexican media reported.
Hammar’s lawyer, Eddie Varron, told reporters the arrest “should never have happened, it is a legal aberration.”
Mexican police arrested Hammar on August 13 when he crossed into the Mexican border town of Matamoros carrying a .410 Sears & Roebuck shotgun.
Mexican customs agents had told Hammar that he could bring the gun, which he inherited from his grandfather, into the country as long as he registered it immediately with authorities, according to a letter signed by the US lawmakers.
Hammar, who has been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder after his military service, faced beatings and other abuses from fellow prisoners, lawmakers and Hammar’s family said.
His family has also accused Mexican prison authorities of repeatedly handcuffing Hammar to his bed, which Mexico denies.
Hammar left the prison accompanied by his attorneys and US diplomatic personnel. The group boarded an armoured SUV and were escorted by soldiers and officials from the prosecutor’s office to the US border town of Brownsville, according to Televisa TV.
Copyright (2012) AFP. All rights reserved.
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