UPDATE (21 Dec 2300)
Jon Hammar Sr,. has confirmed that his 27-year-old son, is back on U.S. soil and with him in a rented car in Brownsville, Texas. Hammar Sr. said his son was released from CEDES prison at 8 p.m. local time and made it back across the bridge between Matamoros, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas by around 8:30 p.m.
Twenty-seven-year-old former Marine Jon Hammar of Palmetto Bay will be released Friday from a Mexican prison, according to U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
UPDATE – Dec 20, 2012
Ever since the plight of Lance Corporal Jon Hammar was made public, the Silver Star Families of America, (SSFOA), have been quietly working behind the scenes for Hammar’s release from a prison in Mexico. And they have made some headway.
CEO of the SSFOA Steve Newton, stated: “We have contacted the Mexican Embassy in Washington and every Mexican consulate in the United States. We have also contacted the U.S. State Department and our Embassy in Mexico City. To be honest our State Department has been somewhat slow and—unhelpful.
We finally made a solid contact with our Consulate office in Matamoros who gives us up to- date information on Hammar’s condition and provided us an address to send him reading materials so we have made progress.”
“While some are engaged in big media events, the SSFOA has been working quietly with both U.S. and Mexican officials,” Newton continued. “It is probably a good thing the plight of Mr. Hammar has gotten out to the public because it might draw the attention of those in the government that can help.
We have also been passing on information to the family through Hammars Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla office.”
“It is not our job to determine blame for the situation and we feel that any solution will be a compromise between Mexico and the United States and the people of both Nations. Our main concern is making sure Hammar is well treated, safe, and is at least fairly comfortable while we work to free him.
We firmly believe that he will be released on January 17th, at his next court appearance. If that does not happen we will have to –reevaluate the situation and take other action. And we are doing a few things we can’t talk about at present.”
“We learned today our letter to the President of Mexico has finally been delivered. (Letter in full below) We will build on that and we will not rest until Hammar is home.”
Dear Mr. Newton,
Thank you for your letter addressed to President Pena Nieto that you sent to the Ambassador regarding the imprisonment of Mr. Jon Hammar in Matamoros. The U.S. Embassy has forwarded your letter to the Government of Mexico per your request.
We appreciate your concern of fellow citizen Jon Hammar. Please know that U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulate General in Matamoros are working closely with high-level Mexican Officials to ensure that proper judicial proceedings are in place and encouraging a prompt resolution.
Embassy and Consulate officials continue to monitor Mr. Hammar’s safety and well-being throughout his detention.
Office of the Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs U.S. Embassy Mexico City
The Honorable Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto President of the United Mexican States
In care of: U.S. Embassy and the Mexican Consulate
I would like to bring to your attention the mission of the Silver Star Families of America: to remember, honor and assist the wounded, ill, injured and dying of the American Armed Forces from all wars.
We are an organization of thousands of members who respect the sacrifice of those who have stood for freedom. Intergral to our mission is the welfare and well-being of Jon Hammar, a United States Marine Corp veteran has been arrested and is presently incarcerated in CERESO de Matamoro.
Mr. Hammar suffers from post traumatic stress, a psychological and emotion illness caused by prolonged exposure to violence. Mr. Hammar was a soldier in Afghanistan and Iraq, and should be receiving therapy for his wounds, which is likely to become worse under the stress of his incarceration.
We have no wish to interfere with the Mexican judicial system, nor with any official negotiations between governments, but we would like to request that for humanitarian reasons, the honorable President Enrique Peña Nieto will consider using your considerable influence and power to prevail upon the Public Ministers to consider Mr. Hammar’s condition and intention, reducing the charges to those that would allow him to leave prison and return to his own country.
The Silver Stars Families of America is willing to pay whatever fines are assessed by the court. Our respect for the sovereignty of the Mexican state is absolute and our only concern is for Mr. Hammar’s well-being.
If charges cannot be dropped or reduced to the minimum, we would ask that you consider having the criminal matter expedited, and grant Mr. Hammar amnesty as you are empowered to do in Article 89, XIV of the Political Constitution of the Mexican United States, or you request that the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic grant amnesty to Mr. Hammar under the powers granted the Legislature in Article 73, XIII.
Again, our only concern is to assume that Mr. Hammar receives the help he desperately needs. Our respect for the sovereignty of the Mexican state is absolute and our only wish is for an honorable settlement of this situation. A misunderstanding of Mexican customs regulations should not deprive a young wounded warrior of years of his life.
I appeal to you as a father and a Christian. Please let the good hearts of the Mexican people prevail and provide justice tempered with mercy. You know and I know this child should not suffer anymore than he already has.
I stand with you in justice and compassion,
CEO Silver Star Families of America
The Silver Star Families of America has one mission: To remember, honor and assist the wounded, ill, injured and dying of our Armed Forces from all wars.
They can be contacted at: Silverstarfamilies.org Letter edited by a friend and don’t know if he wants his name used. Thank you my friend. I also want to thank our interpreter. You know who you are.
Steve Newton The Silver Star Families of America 525 Cave Hollow Rd. Clever, MO. 65631 http://www.silverstarfamilies.org
Dear Mr. Newton:
This Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City, Missouri, acknowledges receipt of your letter dated December 10, 2012, regarding the situation of Jon Hammar, a United States Marine Corp, arrested and presently incarcerated in CERESO de Matamoros.
I inform you that your letter has been sent to the appropriate Mexican authorities for their attention.
Alicia kerber Palma Head Consul
‘Devastating’ photo sent to family of ex-Marine jailed in notorious Mexican CEDES prison over antique shotgun
NY Daily News – By Christine Roberts
The mother of a former Marine imprisoned in Mexico says she is heartbroken over a new photo of her son, the first taken since he was locked up for trying to declare an antique gun at the border.
“It’s just devastating,” Jon Hammar’s mother, Olivia Hammar, told the Daily News. “He’s normally such a happy kid. And now he just looks so lost.”
The photo shows the 27-year-old chained to a bed inside his cell at the notorious CEDES prison in Matamoros, Mexico.
An anonymous email account from Mexico sent Olivia’s husband, Jon Hammar Sr., the picture Monday, as first reported by Fox News Latino.
“I found your email on the Internet and I wanted to send you this photo,” the sender wrote in Spanish. “I am not giving you my name because I like my job and I don’t want to lose it. Juan is OK but I hope he is let out quickly.”
Jon Hammar, who spent four years serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been jailed at CEDES since shortly after Aug. 13, when he was arrested while crossing from Brownsville, Tex., to Matamoros.
Hammar and his friend, former Marine Ian McDonough, were on a road trip to Costa Rica. When the pair reached the Brownsville border, Hammar told U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents that he was carrying a shotgun.
The agents allowed the two to continue, and allegedly said that the gun, which apparently belonged to Hammar’s great-grandfather, wouldn’t be an issue at the Mexican checkpoint.
Yet when Hammar told Mexican border agents about the gun, he and his friend were immediately handcuffed. The friend was later released…
Parents Enlist Help To Free Ex-Marine From Mexican Prison
CBS Miami – By David Sutta
…The Hammars went public with their story a week ago, four months after Jon was locked up, because all diplomatic efforts seemed to be getting nowhere.
Hammar’s troubles began in August when he took off with a buddy to Costa Rica to surf and deal with post traumatic stress from the war.
Once across the border, though, he was immediately arrested, placed in a notoriously dangerous prison some say is run by a drug cartel and charged with bringing a firearm into the country – a federal crime.
“We started receiving calls from members of the cartel saying, we have your son and we’re going to kill him. And then they’d put him on the phone, and I realize that they really did,” said Olivia Hammar.
The rifle, a family heirloom, was actually cleared by U.S. Customs.
“Customs weighed the gun, measured the gun, I think took pictures of the gun and gave him paperwork to fill out and then he took that paperwork across to the Mexican side, declared the gun and was immediately arrested,” said Olivia Hammar.
In a statement, a spokesman for the Mexican Embassy stressed that possession of any weapon restricted for the use of the army in Mexico is a federal crime and must automatically be prosecuted.
“All it is, is that the barrel of the rifle was this length or the other length. It was not like he was trying to start a militia,” said Ros-Lehtinen.
Olivia said her son spends his days shacked to his bed, reading a bible…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11 December, 2012
On Monday evening, the Board of Directors of the Silver Star Families of America, (SSFOA), unanimously passed a resolution calling for the release of Jon Hammar, a Marine veteran who has been jailed in a Mexican prison in Matamoros since August over a misunderstanding regarding the registration of a firearm.
Steve Newton, President and CEO of the SSFOA stated, “The mission of the SSFOA is to remember, honor and assist the wounded, ill and injured of our Armed Forces from all wars.
Hammar suffers from the invisible wound of PTS (D) and that makes him our business. We do not and will not leave one of our own behind.”
The Board of the SSFOA also authorized the President to use “any and all legal means necessary, including the allocation of funds, to affect the release of Hammar.”
Newton continued by saying, “We have already contacted our embassy in Mexico City, although one of the three e mails was inactive. They have not responded. We attempted to contact the Mexican desk at the State Department in Washington but no one answered the phone.
It was our intention to make sure our efforts were not in conflict with any negotiations being carried on between our government and the Mexican government that might further complicate the matter. But due to their non response and the request for public assistance from the family, we are going ahead with our efforts.”
“We will begin our efforts by trying to reach the newly elected President Enrigue Pena Nieto and by faxing letters to all the Mexican consulates in the United States. We will also continue to attempt contact with State and the White House. This issue with Hammar is not acceptable and every effort will be made to secure his release.”
You can help by visiting http://www.silverstarfamilies.org/