“No American should be in a Mexican jail for five months without being able to have his case in front of a judge,” Nelson said. “We’re grateful; this is a good Christmas present.”
Ros-Lehtinen, who held a press conference at her Miami office last week with several dozen of Hammar’s family and friends, praised the community for rallying to publicize his case. An online petition to free Hammar, created by his younger sister, Katie, had more than 26,000 signatures. Earlier this week, Miami-Dade commissioners approved a resolution, sponsored by Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, calling for Hammar’s release.
The congresswoman also applauded the outgoing Mexican ambassador, who was on vacation — and on his last week on the job before a new president takes over — while dealing with the Hammar case.
“I said, ‘What a good way to end your tenure and a good way to start with a new Mexican administration,’ ” Ros-Lehtinen said.
Hammar, 27, joined the Marines after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq before receiving an honorable discharge in 2007 and later serving another four years on inactive reserve.
Upon his return, Hammar, a former lance corporal, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He checked into a treatment center for veterans in California and planned the surfing trip to Costa Rica as a way to find peace, his family said. A lifetime surfer, he traveled with some custom-made boards, including one engraved with the name of a childhood friend who died in a motorcycle accident, according to his mother.
Olivia Hammar said her son had spent the last few days sick with a stomach bug.
“We’re worried about his reentry process,” she said. “I don’t even know that I’ve been able to process it yet … You don’t realize what a physical toll fear takes on you until you have it continually, for months at a time.”
Tim Johnson of McClatchy’s Mexico City bureau and Kevin G. Hall in the McClatchy Washingtron bureau contributed to this story.