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Excerpt: "A US border activist will be retried after a jury was unable to reach a verdict on charges related to aiding migrants near Arizona's border with Mexico, US prosecutors said on Tuesday."

Scott Warren speaks outside federal court in Tucson, Arizona after a mistrial was declared in the federal case against him. (photo: Astrid Galvan/AP)
Scott Warren speaks outside federal court in Tucson, Arizona after a mistrial was declared in the federal case against him. (photo: Astrid Galvan/AP)


Activist Scott Warren to Be Retried in Aiding Migrants Case

By Al Jazeera

03 July 19


Prosecutors drop conspiracy charge, but plan to retry the No More Deaths activist on two counts of harbouring migrants.

US border activist will be retried after a jury was unable to reach a verdict on charges related to aiding migrants near Arizona's border with Mexico, US prosecutors said on Tuesday.

The government dropped a conspiracy charge and will retry Scott Warren on November 12 on two counts of harbouring migrants, said Glenn McCormick, a spokesman for the US Attorney's office in Tucson.

Warren was arrested early last year. During his trial in June, defence attorneys argued the 36-year-old college geography instructor was just being kind by giving two migrants water, food and lodging.

Prosecutors countered that the migrants were not in distress when the aid was given at a property used for helping migrants near the border.

Warren is a volunteer for No More Deaths, a faith-based group providing water, food and medical aid to migrants in the harsh deserts of southern Arizona.

Humanitarian groups say they face increasing scrutiny under President Donald Trump's hardline immigration policies. 

The initial trial had been expected to set a precedent on what aid US citizens can legally give undocumented migrants after the Trump administration urged federal prosecutors to crack down on people found sheltering them.

"The federal government shouldn't have arrested Scott Warren in the first place," said the Mary Katherine Morn, president and CEO of Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

The retrial "highlights just how far the Trump administration is willing to go to punish migrants and those who provide them with life-saving assistance," she said.

Thousands found dead since 2001

More than 3,000 undocumented migrants have died since 2001 trying to cross a stretch of land where temperatures can exceed 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 Celsius), according to Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner data.

Warren was arrested the same day No More Deaths published a video showing US Border Patrol agents destroying water supplies the group left for migrants.

Warren's lawyers argue the arrest was in retaliation for the video. They say he was lawfully exercising his religious beliefs and rights to help the migrants after they spent two days crossing the desert.

His parents had collected more than 128,000 signatures calling on the US Attorney's Office in Tucson to drop all charges. 

Tuesday's announcement came on the same day that Amnesty International released a report accusing the US government of misusing the law to conduct a "discriminatory campaign of intimidation, threats, harassment, and criminal investigations against people who defend the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers" on the US-Mexico border.

"The Trump administration's targeting of human rights defenders through discriminatory misuse of the criminal justice system sets it on a slippery slope toward authoritarianism," said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty's Americas director.

"The US government is disgracing itself by threatening and even prosecuting its own citizens for their vital work to save the lives of people in a desperate situation at the border," she said in a statement.

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+12 # coberly 2019-07-03 09:33
in addition

the practice of keep retrying until you get a conviction is another one of those common practices that make Constitutional Rights meaningless.

what's happening at the border shows us how evil we have become, but it's been going on for some time right here at home with "good americans" not seeming to mind very much.
 
 
+7 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-07-03 13:19
Anyone still doubt the the Trump government is a vile, murderous Fascist kleptocrat racket?
 
 
+4 # elizabethblock 2019-07-03 20:19
My profound admiration for people like this, people who, in Thoreau's phrase (quoted by Dan Ellsberg), "cast their whole vote."
And let's hear it for trial by jury.
 
 
0 # Texas Aggie 2019-07-03 23:00
Dear prosecutors,

When you are burning in hell, have the decency to not complain and to acknowledge that you brought it on yourselves.

ITMFA
 
 
+2 # laborequalswealth 2019-07-04 08:24
So you are “pro life” if you force scared pregnant women to give birth against their will, but you are a criminal if you save scared migrants from dying of thirst in the desert.

Ah America. Proving once again that it is the world’s most hypocritical moral cesspit.
 

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