GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Carol Ingram can tell you a lot about her son.
"His beautiful personality, his love for me, his love for his family, his children."
Her oldest son Jermaine Rogers is a Cummings High School (Burlington) graduate, a U.S. Army veteran and a father of 5 with a fiance in Texas.
But these are all her memories. What she knows about Jermaine's life right now is depressing.
"It's like all my joy has been snatched out of me," Ingram says. "I don't know if my son has been kept warm, getting anything other to eat besides the chicken and rice."
Jermaine is a prisoner in Kuwait, in a prison run by Kuwaiti government. What little information his family knows comes from the U.S. Embassy.
"I pray every day that God will touch somebody's hearts to set him free," Ingram tells.
His family says he started working in Kuwait as a civilian contractor for the military in 2006. They say in 2015 he was arrested on drug charges and sentenced to death by hanging. That sentence has since been reduced to life in prison, but they think he was set up.
The U.S. Department of State knows about Jermaine, and sent a statement that reads in part:
"The Department of State takes seriously its responsibilities to assist U.S. citizens abroad and stands ready to provide all appropriate consular services to U.S. citizens in need. Consular officers from the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait have visited Mr. Rogers regularly since his arrest, including most recently on September 20, 2017, and continue to provide all appropriate consular assistance.
The Embassy has raised his case with the Government of Kuwait. The Criminal Court had sentenced him to death on September 26, 2016 on charges of smuggling cocaine into Kuwait for the purpose of trafficking. We understand that Kuwait's Court of Appeals overturned Jermaine Rogers' death sentence and sentenced him to life imprisonment. Due to the severity of the sentence, the Ambassador raised it personally with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General."
The U.S. Department of State says if arrested abroad, a U.S. citizen must go through the foreign legal process for being charged or indicted, prosecuted, possibly convicted and sentenced, and for any appeals process. Within this framework, U.S. consular officers provide a wide variety of services to U.S. citizens arrested abroad and their families.
Jermaine's family says they want to see more action.
"I continue to write my son ever week," Ingram says, never knowing if he'll ever get them. "It hurts my heart because my words could bring a smile to him, my words could ease his pain."
Jermaine's story caught the attention of Dejuana Warren, who runs non-profit Women Empower Women in Burlington. She's also a Cummings High School graduate.
"We're all still alumni and Jermaine matters," she says.
She's also a new mom and can't fathom what Jermaine's family is going through.
"I can't touch her. I can't see her. I don't know if she's okay," Warren says. "As a mother our main job is to keep our kids safe to protect them and to help them."
She's working with Jermaine's family to tell his story to anyone who will listen.
They all hope one day it will fall on helpful ears.
"I'm praying for a miracle," Ingram says. "I need a miracle."
Jermaine's sister in Connecticut reached out to Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) for help in the past. He'd written former Secretary of State John Kerry in 2016. WFMY News 2 reached out to him again for an update.
His office sent back another letter he addressed to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on December 6, 2017, urging the State Department to review the case. Senator Blumenthal writes he has serious concerns with violations of due process, harsh sentencing and a gross disregard of diplomatic protocols by Kuwaiti officials.
Jermaine's fiance Karina started a change.org petition to help share Jermaine's story and get him some help. Click here to see the petition.
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