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The United States Department of Justice should immediately drop the spurious criminal charges against humanitarian volunteer Dr. Scott Warren in the state of Arizona on the U.S.–Mexico border, said Amnesty International in a letter to U.S. authorities ahead of his retrial next week.

“The Trump administration’s second attempt to prosecute Scott Warren is a cynical misuse of the justice system, intended to criminalize compassion and lifesaving humanitarian aid,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

“This is a dark hour for the USA when the government is seeking to send a man to prison for 10 years simply for providing food, water and clean clothes to people in need.” 

“U.S. authorities must stop harassing Dr. Warren and other human rights defenders who have simply shown kindness to fellow human beings. The government should instead be working to save lives in a desert where thousands of people have already died in their desperate search for a safer place to call home.” 

On November 12, 2019, U.S. authorities will prosecute Dr. Warren for a second time on charges of “harboring” two migrants, for providing them with humanitarian assistance in the town of Ajo where he lives. The first trial resulted in a mistrial on July 2, 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 U.S.–Mexico border. Amnesty International is campaigning globally for the charges against Dr. Scott Warren to be dropped.

Read more: 

Mistrial in Case of Dr. Scott Warren, Prosecution Must Drop Charges (News, June 12, 2019) 

‘Saving Lives Is Not a Crime’: Politically motivated legal harassment of migrant human rights defenders by the USA (Research, July 2, 2019) 

Decision to retry Dr. Scott Warren is part of wider campaign against human rights defenders (News, July 2, 2019)

Urgent Action: Drop Charges Against Human Rights Defender (Campaign, October 31, 2019)

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