Fight to get Jon Hammar out of Mexican prison for Christmas
What can be done to get former Marine home?
- Duration 7:06
- Date Dec 19, 2012
What can be done to get former Marine home?
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In one conversation I had with Johnny where I had a little time with him on the phone he had said to me.
Mom and they hate us he said.
They hate the hatred for Americans in this place is just unbelievable.
And that has haunted me because I.
I'm not sure what that's about -- out you know it's like a National Geographic -- that you watched except that it's your side.
It's just been inconceivable.
-- the parents.
Retired marine John hammer joined me yesterday to talk about the fight to get their son out of one of Mexico's most dangerous prisons.
He was arrested back in August for carrying a vintage shotgun it was a family heirloom across the border.
Even though US customs and border agents reportedly told -- he could bring it -- Mexico as long as the other required permit which he did.
Then he stopped and talked -- the Mexican officials and promptly got arrested.
The State Department says console -- officers have visited with hammer -- time since his arrest.
And so today we are asking if there's anything more that can be done to bring this marine home.
Rick we're now -- -- former spokesman for the last four US ambassador to the United Nations but now Rick what's the story because.
You know in defense of what our government has done so far they say look.
They have a justice system in Mexico were funneling them one point nine billion -- you've got to fix it but -- -- we're trying to fix it.
But we can't interfere with their legal proceedings at the same way as we don't want them to interfere with our legal proceedings -- hold them here.
Makes sense right -- that's exactly the case and the State Department officials from ambassador Wayne -- the US ambassador to Mexico.
All the way down to bureaucrats in Washington are trained to respect the other countries' laws and regulations so.
We have to understand that the only way John is gonna come home.
Is when this is highlighted to a higher political level.
When Secretary Clinton.
Is finished recuperating and she's back on the job she needs to pick up the phone and call the president of Mexico.
President yet though is new and he would of course take that call we need to recognize that there are certain -- circumstances and situations.
When that we have to you -- the political card and say this guy.
Is not getting a fair treatment.
It was an administrative error as his mother says all of this makes sense and so we can't just allow him to sit there Christmas is coming.
This is also the perfect opportunity for the Mexicans to understand.
That they can they can go out off.
The the normal path and do something nice and really improve their relationships with.
-- opportunity for them in that respect -- instead of you know ticking off.
Millions of Americans seeing our our our US -- -- in this condition -- like -- dog who with a chain to a bed.
They could they could be reasonable and say there was no intent to to transport illegal firearms in Mexico it was a smuggling weapons he's.
-- declare it to the Mexican officials that's how they call them it's not like he was sneaking in they caught -- they arrested him.
Yeah and you know the other part of this is I think.
It's up to our government and clearly -- the US ambassador to Mexico is a career.
Foreign service officer he's not going to change protocol and and ask for this to be done is gonna follow all the rules.
But it but it's up to our government can -- make the cases that we respect your laws we understand that this is a unique situation he was down there because he was serving our country.
He he's experiencing PT SD.
He would like to you know blow off some steam and he made a clerical error -- you could help us out we would understand.
It would also be an opportunity to really educate Mexicans and Americans about the improvements to the legal system in Mexico and help us understand that when there is a problem.
They are going to be able to be there and say let's adjust the protocol or let's use human intelligence here to understand.
That we don't let an American who made a clerical error sit in a prison.
Changed to a bed well we ignore this and say that -- Going to the -- they have prosecutorial discretion in Mexico because here in this country we're not just a bunch of monkeys that just stance stance stance that we have reason.
And we apply it and we have our prosecutors say.
Does this warrant a charges and -- a guy in jail for four months while he awaits trial for which he spent twelve years in prison if he's convicted or is this a simple mistake.
With one -- with a that would.
Us serviceman from our one of our closest friends the United States of America and let's be reasonable.
We have to be reasonable let's also remember that in Mexico that had an incredible problem of people going around the legal system at their -- wealthy or connected so.
This is a chance to educate people to say this is not someone who's wealthy this is not someone who is well connected this is an American made an administrative.
Mistake he made a mistake it -- the mistake is now actually going to help Mexico that is getting a lot of -- -- -- that very few Americans are gonna be under the -- mistaken impression that they can bring.
Any sort of a weapon in -- Mexico -- up -- the facing a severe penalty so mission accomplished if that's what they wanted to do and now is it time to just let him out.
Yet not time to let him out and guess what the the White House -- see -- involved and you could have Jay Carney simply know about the situation and which all attention.
We didn't ask about yesterday's I don't all the facts on this -- -- need to know what.
They were talking about right this is where something like the white house Press Secretary could help.
They can articulate the position and say we think that that and Mexico should look at the situation -- understand that.
This is an error and they should release him immediately that is a statement and Mexico would probably comply because it.
Got to the level of a political.
You know statement from the White House just.
Higher burden on the administration here because he is a marine because even now retired but.
But because he's a marine is one wonders whether we be paying attention to this or whether anybody -- be involved in this if this were just a regular old gel from the United States made a mistake.
Look I work with a lot of families who have individuals held in prison overseas and I have to say that that you want.
To believe that our government represents everyone.
Certainly the case can be made now that this is a American hero who has served multiple two hours.
And that we should highlight I think kids situation and the error of of what has happened out there so I want to believe that it doesn't matter.
What you've done in the past that if you are accused of some -- Like -- deaths a clerical error that silly situation that you shouldn't be changed your bad and the Mexican prison.
And you gotta think it at some point reason will prevail in Mexico as well.
To whom we've been very good and in many ways and obviously there's controversy and that relationship but they are an ally.
Earlier today the parents said on Fox News that they believe something could happen.
Before Christmas even though his next court appearance wasn't supposed to be until January so weak and we'll see Rick thanks thanks.