By Leila Pine
TUCSON -- Scott Warren, the No More Deaths/No Más Muertes humanitarian aid volunteer charged with two felony counts of "harboring" immigrants by giving them food and water in the desert, was found not guilty today by the federal jury in Tucson, Arizona. A guilty verdict would have had a chilling effect on all human rights organizations and humanitarian aid volunteers working at the U.S. border.
They have repeatedly singled out No More Deaths from other humanitarian aid groups because No More Deaths is the only group that has repeatedly documented and published reports about human rights violations by Border Patrol against migrants in their custody since 2008. See reports and video clips at nomoredeaths.org.
No More Deaths will celebrate yet another legal victory over Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security. I believe this is the 26th criminal case, most of the others being for misdemeanors, by DHS against No More Deaths humanitarian aid volunteers over the years, and the first time the feds demanded a retrial after a hung jury failed to find Scott guilty earlier this year. Disclosure: I was a volunteer for eight years with No More Deaths and was the Liaison and volunteer staff person between NMD and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, which took them in as a ministry of the church in 2008. NMD was started as an interfaith-based organization in 2004, at the request of Tucson-based immigrant community leaders.
Hasta la victoria siempre!
La lucha continua,