Obama State Dept Says No Help For Iraq Vet Held In Mexico

Obama State Dept Says No Help For Iraq Vet Held In Mexico

FOX NEWS LATINO: Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has the power to pardon former Marine Jon Hammar if the veteran is convicted – but it’s unclear whether Mexico’s highest leader would do so. Hammar’s fate now rest in the hands of a judge – who will determine whether he is guilty or innocent. If Hammar is convicted of federal charges, his future then lies in the hands of Peña Nieto. The president’s office did not return phone calls seeking comment.

But experts say don’t expect a presidential pardon.Freeing Hammar could undermine ongoing efforts made by both Peña Nieto and the U.S. to modernize Mexico’s justice system so that everyone can be treated the same “avoiding deals that only the rich and powerful can make”, according to Diana Negroponte, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute.Afterall, Negroponte said, “Do we want to have powerful Mexican politicians calling up and interfering with our justice system?”While Hammar’s future is uncertain, what is clear is this: Hammar will not be home for Christmas. Hammar, who served two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, “will remain in detention for the duration of his trial” in Mexico where he faces a felony charge and up to 12 years in one of Mexico’s most dangerous prisons, according to a letter written by Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan.

Hammar was arrested on federal charges on the border for entering Mexico on August 15 for possessing his grandfather’s antique shotgun, a weapon reserved for military use in Mexico, according to a letter dated December 12, from the ambassador to U.S. Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla). In the letter, the ambassador also notes Hammar’s military service but reiterates Mexico’s “very stringent gun control laws” particularly “as a result of the weapons illicitly purchased in the U.S. and then trafficked into Mexico.”

The letter is a blow to Hammar’s lawyer Eddie Varon-Levy and his family who had hoped the case could have been resolved before Hammar’s next court date on January 17. Hammar remains in solitary confinement with his right ankle chained to a bed in the administrative offices of the jail in Matamoros, a notoriously dangerous state prison.