Jailed veteran Andrew Tahmooressi told Fox News in a TV interview that Mexican prison guards had beat and abused him. In spite of it all, he remains hopeful about his release.
The 25-year-old Marine Reservist who served two years in Afghanistan was taken prisoner in Mexico after a wrong turn on the Southern California highway put him in Tijuana with three (legally owned) guns in his car. Tahmooressi was beginning post-traumatic stress disorder treatment in San Diego at the time.
In an exclusive interview on “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,” Tahmooressi told the FoxNews host that his faith that he would soon be sent home was keeping him strong despite the brutal treatment he had endured.
Tahmooressi clarified the events that had landed him in a prison nightmare.
“I said I have all my stuff back here, plus three guns, but I didn’t mean to be in Mexico, it was an accident and there was no place to do a U-turn," he said.
An officer who spoke English told Tahmooressi that he would be escorted back to the U.S. However, when a Mexican military official took over, Tahmooressi knew he was in trouble.
"He just took control," Tahmooressi said. "He didn't seem to care at all about anything that I had to say. It was like a math equation in his head. Three guns, man equals prison."
Tahmooressi was handcuffed and taken to prison, where he was allowed to call his mother. That conversation, he said, gave him the strength to try and escape.
“I thought that if I had went back into the cell that night that something, that I would be raped and killed,” he said. "And I didn't think that telling the officers would help me at all."
Tahmooressi was caught trying to flee. Things got worse from there. Guards beat him up, hitting him until he was “gasping for air” and striking him in the jaw so many times that it dislodged. They verbally abused him, stepped on his face, stripped him naked and chained him to a bed.
The worst, however, was the fear Tahmooressi felt for his loved ones. He feared the guards were trying to ascertain their whereabouts in order to harm them, he said.
“I was afraid,” he said.
Things have eased up, Tahmooressi said, since the media began spotlighting his case. His treatment has improved and he is hopeful, he says, that his release is imminent.