Former Marine seeks McCain’s help to get wife and son out of Iraq

    A former Marine, who was born in Iraq and moved to the United States as a teen, says his wife and young son are in hiding and in danger in Iraq. He says his attempts to get them to the United States have been met with indifference by American officials.

    Tony Al-shammeree, who now lives in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., is on his way to Arizona to track down Senator John McCain. He believes McCain may be the only one who can help him save the life of his wife and 1-year-old.

    Al-shammeree, 32, was an active duty Marine who served in Iraq along with his brothers and a cousin. He says his military service was a part of giving back to his adopted country. But when he was kidnapped and tortured until his family paid a $500,000 ransom, he said U.S. officials turned a blind eye. When he tried to get his son and wife out of the country, he ran into more bureaucratic hurdles.

    Al-shammeree said the men who kidnapped him have threatened to rape and kill his wife and behead his son. He said Monday he no longer sleeps because he’s so worried.

    “I talk to her about three or four times a day. I hear her voice, I have to hear my son’s voice or I go crazy. He took his first steps when I’m not there,” said Al-shammeree. “She sent me pictures of him taking his first steps, it killed me.”

    Al-shammeree said he provided embassy officials will all the proper paperwork to prove he is a U.S. citizen and former serviceman. He says they thanked him for his service, but told him they could not help him.

    A State Department representative says it does not comment on visa or citizenship applications.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.