In response to the humanitarian volunteer Dr Scott Warren being found not guilty of the charges against him in a court in Arizona today, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:
“Sense has prevailed today with the jury exonerating Dr. Scott Warren for a simple reason: humanitarian aid is never a crime. The Trump administration is wrong to try to prosecute people who are only trying to save lives. By threatening Dr. Warren with a decade in prison, the US government sought to criminalise compassion and weaponize the deadly desert against people who make the perilous journey to the United States in search of safety.”
This was the second trial Dr Warren has faced on charges of “harbouring” two migrants, for providing them with humanitarian assistance in the town of Ajo, Arizona, where he lives. The first trial resulted in a mistrial on 2 July, when eight of 12 jurors sought to acquit him on all charges but could not reach a unanimous decision.
In July, Amnesty International issued a report documenting the Trump administration’s misuse of the criminal justice system to threaten, intimidate, and punish those defending the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers on the US–Mexico border.