Miami native Jon Hammar, the Marine combat veteran who was unjustly arrested in Mexico and spent months in a jail cell at times chained to the bed was finally freed last night and reunited with his father on U.S. soil. Thanks to the efforts of many here in South Florida, including our very own Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, and Sen. Marco Rubio, as well as his family, fellow veterans, and elected officials all over the country, Jon’s nightmare is finally over. This Christmas will truly be a special one for the Hammar family.
Father welcomes imprisoned Marine vet home
Jonny Hammar came home for Christmas. Hopes were high through Friday as news spread that jailed U.S. Marine veteran Jon “Jonny” Hammar, imprisoned in Matamoros on a gun charge, would soon come home.
The hopes turned into belief — and relief — as Jonny Hammar and his father, Jon, were reunited on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande late Friday night.
“I thank the American people, I thank everybody and I thank many people in Mexico who were also fighting for Jon because they knew he was innocent,” said Eddie Varon-Levy, an attorney who represents Hammar.
“It’s going to be a wonderful Christmas, at least for the Hammars and me.”
Varon-Levy declined to comment about where or how Hammar returned to the United States, but he said more information about the Marine veteran’s release would be available within the next few days.
He said his client was not immediately available for photos due to his physical condition.
Jon Hammar, the Marine veteran’s father, and supporters spent much of Friday near the B&M Bridge on Sam Perl Boulevard, where they waited patiently for the young Hammar to cross from Matamoros to Brownsville. At about 8 p.m. Friday, the elder Hammar moved to wait at the Veterans International Bridge at Los Tomates.
“I don’t care how long I have to wait,” Jon Hammar said, adding the only deadline he had was getting his son home to Miami for Christmas. “We don’t have any Christmas shopping. We didn’t do any of that. But I’ll show up and tell my wife, ‘Look what I’ve got.’”
Jonny Hammar was jailed in August on a weapons charge in Matamoros.
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Below the fold are statements from the Hammar family, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.
December 21, 2012
Statements From Cong. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen & The Hammar Family On Jon Hammar’s Release From A Mexican Jail
“This is a great day for the Hammar family. I have spoken with the family, and can confirm that Jon has been released from Matamoros prison and is back safely in the United States. These past few months have been an absolute nightmare for Jon and his family, and I am so relieved that this whole ordeal will soon be over. I am overcome with joy knowing that Jon will be spending Christmas with his parents, family and friends.
I want to thank my colleagues in Congress, and the American people, who have shown unwavering support for Jon and his family in their time of need, and who have been so instrumental in making this happen. This could not have been accomplished without their relentless advocacy for Jon. I believe in the power of prayer and I thank all who prayed for Jon’s safety and release.
The family has asked that they be given their privacy and I ask that their wishes be respected.”
Hammar family statement:
Psalm 118: 5-6
Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
“The only expression that captures how we feel today is that “our cup runneth over.” Our precious boy will be released at some point today after a judge ruled in favor of our Amparo, a form of constitutional relief found in the Mexican legal system, late last night. While we will not be holding a press conference as we try and provide the gentlest means of re-entry for Jonny and safe travel for him back to Miami, we do want to recognize everyone who has played a role in securing his release. First, as Christians we are praising God, who has held all of us in the palm of His hand throughout this entire ordeal. As horrific as this has been, we know in our hearts that God can redeem this and use it in all of our lives for His good purposes. This Christmas we will celebrate the birth of Christ as never before.
To Congresswoman Ileana Ros- Lehtinen, Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Mike Thompson, as well as their staff, you have worked tirelessly and fearlessly in your efforts to bring Jonny home. We can never repay you. To our friends and family, who have propped us up on every leaning side: God bless you for your love toward us and our boy. And to people throughout this country who have championed our fight for justice, we have never been more proud to be Americans. To the Marines and soldiers who prayed for us and repeatedly offered to physically go and get him out at any cost, this country is what it is today because of your courage and commitment. And finally to the press, you have probably played the most vital role in his release. Thank you for pursuing truth at all costs.
We will spend this holiday bathed in gratitude to all of you. We will not be doing any interviews until after the holidays. We hope your understand and respect our need for privacy at this time.
God Bless and Merry Christmas”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 21, 2012
Hammar Family Receives Ultimate Holiday Wish – Their Son’s Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) offered the following statement in response to U.S. veteran Jon Hammar’s release from unjust imprisonment in Mexico.
“It is with relief that we receive news of the release of our veteran Jon Hammar from the Mexican prison where he has spent the past four months. I am glad that the efforts in securing Mr. Hammar’s release have proved successful, and that the Mexican government took the necessary steps. It was an honor to help the Hammar family get their son back – their ultimate holiday wish.
“Hammar brought along an antique shotgun with him on a road trip to Costa Rica, though when crossing the border in Mexico, he was immediately arrested after he attempted to legally register it. Jon endured physical and mental abuse, and was used as a pawn in an attempt to extort money from his family.”