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July 8th, 2014
05:40 PM ET

Jailed Marine reservist: I did fear for my life

(CNN) – Marine reservist Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, has been jailed in Mexico on weapons charges for more than three months.

Tomorrow will mark Tahmooressi's 100th day in prison, and his first opportunity to present his side of the story to a judge. He is currently in his second Mexican prison, after facing dangerous conditions in the first prison.

"I did fear for my life," Tahmooressi said in an interview, via phone, with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper.

"The inmates that I was with were not the best people, they were convicted of doing some pretty bad crimes, and they were threatening me pretty profusely," he said. "I didn't believe the guards would help me in any way if I asked them to move cells."

He was "held captive and nearly killed by the gang members and the guards at that prison. I'm furious," his mother of the first prison. She started a White House petition for his release.

Tahmooressi says he feels much safer in the current prison, where he has his own cell, and guards and the prison director are friendly.

After serving two tours in Afghanistan, Tahmooressi moved to San Diego this spring to seek help for post-traumatic stress.

He spent March 31 in neighboring Tijuana, walked back across the border to his car, and then he says he made a wrong turn driving back to San Diego.

"Intuitively you turn left to go into San Diego, and it swept south on a blind curve corrals you! It's a point of no return if you make that left turn, and that's literally what he did," his mother told CNN.

With three firearms in his truck and no way back, Tahmooressi was arrested. He said he was treated poorly by government officials at the border.

"They didn't have a translator present, they didn't ask me ... if I wanted a lawyer present," said Tahmooressi. "They didn't care about hearing me out. And they were pushing their power around to try to force me to do things I was not comfortable doing."

The Marine reservist said officials tried to have him sign paper work he did not understand, and threatened to take away his possessions, his truck and his guns.

"They weren't treating me like caring human beings would treat someone," he said.

Tahmooressi gives his statement to a judge Wednesday, and two border patrol officers present at the time of his arrest will give their statements. He said he is hopeful the judge will realize he is telling the truth.

Sgt. Tahmooressi's family has asked that if you want to give money to his legal defense, you can visit this website.

For more about Tahmooressi ordeal, watch the video below, or click here.

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