DISAPPEARED part 1 : Deadly Apprehension Methods

?v=J7Ux__uVfNA

  • Message de @isskein :
    procès de Scott Warren - délit de solidarité aux USA

    29 mai premier jour du procès de #Scott_Warren, membre du groupe #No_More_Deaths qui aide les migrants perdus dans le désert d’Arizona, arrêté le 17 janvier 2018
    il est accusé de « complot criminel de transport et d’hébergement de migrants illégaux » pour avoir hébergé deux migrants dans une grange. Il risque 20 ans de prison.

    à l’été 2017 9 volontaires de No More Deaths, la plupart ne venant pas d’#Arizona, laissent des bidons d’#eau dans le désert ; ils sont accusés d’utilisation frauduleuse de véhicule et d’abandon de possessions - bref de jeter des ordures - dans une réserve fédérale, délits susceptibles d’un maximum de 6 mois
    Scott Warren a été arrêté peu après la publication d’un rapport documentant des abus de la U.S. Border Patrol.
    https://theintercept.com/2018/01/23/no-more-deaths-arizona-border-littering-charges-immigration (article de 2018 ne mentionnant alors que des peines de 5 ans)

    #désert #mourir_dans_le_désert #mourir_aux_frontières #frontières #migrations #asile #réfugiés #USA #Etats-Unis #Mexique #procès #délit_de_solidarité #solidarité

    Plus sur le groupe No More Deaths sur seenthis :
    https://seenthis.net/tag/no_more_deaths

    Et #Scott_Warren est... géographe, « college geography instructor »

    • Extending ’Zero Tolerance’ To People Who Help Migrants Along The Border

      Arrests of people for harboring, sheltering, leaving food and water or otherwise protecting migrants have been on the rise since 2017, when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to prioritize cases covered under the harboring statute.

      Scott Warren, a 36-year-old college geography instructor from Ajo, Ariz., works with a group called called No More Deaths or No Mas Muertes. The group’s volunteers leave water and food for migrants traversing the Arizona desert.

      Warren was arrested in 2017 and faces three felony counts including conspiracy to transport and harbor migrants. In its complaint, the government claims Warren was seen talking to two migrants who sheltered in Ajo. He denies being part of any sheltering plan.

      “It is scary to be intimidated like this and to be targeted but there really is no choice,” said Warren. He believes the government is violating his right to religious freedom by criminalizing his spiritual belief that mandates he help people in distress.

      “For the government, it’s kind of been an expansion of the interpretation of what it means to harbor,” he suggested.

      The stretch of desert near Ajo can be deadly. The Pima County Medical Examiner has documented 250 migrant deaths in the area since 2001. In the same time frame, thousands have died of dehydration and exposure in the Arizona borderlands.

      “It is life or death here. And a decision not to give somebody food or or water could lead to that person dying,” Warren said.

      ’Can I be compassionate?’

      Nine and half hours away by car from Ajo, in the west Texas town of Marfa, another case is unfolding that pits the government against a four-time elected city and county attorney, Teresa Todd.

      She is under investigation for human smuggling after stopping to help three migrants alongside the road at night in February, 2019.

      “I see a young man in a white shirt. He runs out toward the road where I am,” Todd recounted. She says the man was pleading for assistance. “I can’t just leave this guy on the side of the road. I have to go see if I can help.”

      The young man told Todd that his sister, 18-year-old Esmeralda, was in trouble.

      “I mean, she can hardly walk, she’s very dazed,” recalled Todd.

      The migrants took shelter in Todd’s car while she called and texted a friend who is the legal counsel for the local U.S. Border Patrol, asking for advice. Before that friend could reply, a sheriff’s deputy showed up. The deputy called in the U.S. Border Patrol.

      An agent was soon reading Todd her Miranda rights. Eight days later, a Department of Homeland Security investigator accompanied by a Texas Ranger arrived at Todd’s office with a search warrant for her cellphone. Todd says she was told she’d have the phone back in a matter of hours.

      “It makes people have to question, ’Can I be compassionate’?”

      Todd’s phone was returned 53 days later.

      The sheriff of Presidio County, Danny Dominguez, whose deputy called the Border Patrol, defended the action against Todd. He said anyone with undocumented migrants in their car risks arrest.

      A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the western district of Texas declined comment on Todd’s case.

      Todd is unrepentant: “I feel like I did the right thing. I don’t feel I did anything wrong.”

      Speaking by phone from the migrant detention center in Sierra Blanca, Texas, Esmeralda said of Todd, “I’m really grateful to her.” She said doctors told her she was on the brink of death by the time she got to the hospital.

      Figures confirmed to NPR by TRAC, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, show that in fiscal year 2018 there were more than 4,500 people federally charged for bringing in and harboring migrants. That is a more than 30% increase since 2015, with the greatest rise coming after Sessions’ order to prioritize harboring cases.

      “With these prosecutions, the government is saying, ’we’re extending our zero tolerance policy to Good Samaritans,’” said Ranjana Natarajan, director of the Civil Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law. “People shouldn’t be helping migrants even if they might be at threat of death.”

      Accused of human smuggling

      Ana Adlerstein, a U.S. citizen and volunteer at a Mexican migrant shelter, has her own story to tell. Earlier this month, Adlerstein accompanied a migrant seeking asylum from Sonora, Mexico to the U.S. border crossing at Lukeville, Ariz. Adlerstein was present to observe the process. Instead, she says she was detained by Customs and Border Protection officers for several hours.

      “I was accused of human smuggling,” she stated.

      Border officials had been forewarned that a migrant seeking asylum was coming that day, accompanied by a U.S. citizen. Under current law, once a migrant steps onto U.S. soil, he or she can request asylum.

      “If that’s not how you’re supposed to seek asylum at a port of entry, how are you supposed to seek asylum in this country?” Adlerstein asked.

      U.S. Customs and Border Protection declined comment on Adlerstein’s specific claims. In an email, a CBP spokesperson added:

      “All persons entering the country, including U.S. citizens, are subject to examination and search. CBP uses diverse factors to refer individuals for selected examinations and there are instances when this process may take longer than normal. CBP is committed to ensuring the agency is able to execute its missions while protecting the human rights, civil rights, and dignity of those with whom we come in contact.”

      Adlerstein has not been charged but has received subsequent calls from a DHS investigator.

      In Texas, Teresa Todd is waiting to find out if she will be indicted for human smuggling.

      As for Scott Warren, he faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on all three felony counts, a prospect he can’t even contemplate.

      https://www.npr.org/2019/05/28/725716169/extending-zero-tolerance-to-people-who-help-migrants-along-the-border?t=1559201
      #statistiques #chiffres

    • Scott Warren Provided Food & Water to Migrants in Arizona; He Now Faces Up to 20 Years in Prison

      An Arizona humanitarian aid volunteer goes to trial today for providing water, food, clean clothes and beds to two undocumented migrants crossing the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona. If convicted, Scott Warren could spend up to 20 years in prison. Warren, an activist with the Tucson-based No More Deaths, is charged with three felony counts of allegedly “harboring” undocumented immigrants. For years, No More Deaths and other humanitarian aid groups in southern Arizona have left water and food in the harsh Sonoran Desert, where the temperature often reaches three digits during summer, to help refugees and migrants survive the deadly journey across the U.S. border. Warren was arrested on January 17, 2018, just hours after No More Deaths released a report detailing how U.S. Border Patrol agents had intentionally destroyed more than 3,000 gallons of water left out for migrants crossing the border. The group also published a video showing border agents dumping out jugs of water in the desert. Hours after the report was published, authorities raided the Barn, a No More Deaths aid camp in Ajo, where they found two migrants who had sought temporary refuge. We speak with Scott Warren and his fellow No More Deaths volunteer and activist Catherine Gaffney in Tucson.

      https://www.democracynow.org/2019/5/29/scott_warren_provided_food_water_to

    • Daily Trial Updates

      Day 3 – June 3, 2019

      We began the day with a powerful press conference featuring immigrant justice advocates from across the country. Patty Miller (Arivaca, AZ,) spoke on behalf of People Helping People in the Border Zone and the Rural Border Communities Coalition, followed by James Cordero and Jacqueline Arellano from Border Angeles (San Diego), Ravi Ragbir of the New Sanctuary Coalition (NYC) and Kaji Douša, Senior Pastor at The Park Avenue Christian Church in Manhattan.
      The prosecution continued to build their “case” against Scott, spending most of the day playing video recordings of the testimony given by the two undocumented Central American men–José and Kristian–who were arrested with Scott. (Note we will be using only the first names of deposed witnesses to respect privacy).
      Prosecutors attempted to erase the hardships experienced by undocumented people crossing the borderlands. One of the two witnesses, Kristian, testified that he had been traveling since October 4th, 2017 from his home in El Salvador. By the time of the arrest, he had been traveling for over three months and walking in the desert for two days. This is very different from the government narrative which claims the men were traveling for mere hours before they encountered help.
      During their journey, José and Kristian experienced the routine and deadly Border Patrol apprehension method known as chase and scatter–a practice in which Border Patrol agents pursue migrants in vehicles, on foot, or in helicopters, forcing them to scatter into the desert. In the chaos, the two men lost their belongings, including “food and two gallons of water.” The No More Deaths Abuse Documentation Working Group has provided extensive documentation of the lethal impacts of this deadly apprehension method in our report series, The Disappeared.
      José and Kristian testified that after arriving at the Barn, Scott gave them food, water, blankets and a place to rest. There was no evidence that Scott made any plans to transport them, hide them from law enforcement, or instruct them on how to evade any Border Patrol checkpoints.
      Border Patrol Forensic Phone Analyst Rogelio Velasco gave a rundown of the contents of Scott Warren’s phone–he summarized 14,000 pages of emails and texts into a one page report. One part of his analysis showed the day José and Kristian arrived at the barn, Scott called a nurse and a doctor on the No More Deaths medical team. When asked why Velasco didn’t review the myriad other emails and texts discussing Scott’s humanitarian work, he replied, “I was looking for elements of criminality. If it wasn’t relevant then I skipped it.”

      Day 2 – May 30, 2019

      We began the day with Pastor Allison Harrington of Southside Presbyterian Church sharing the poem “Imagine the Angels of Bread” by Martin Espada along with a morning prayer.
      Court opened with Border Patrol Agent John Marquez being cross-examined by the defense. He made it abundantly clear that he relied on racial profiling to determine the two men at the barn were migrants, claiming “they matched the description” of two migrants BP was looking for. However, when pressed by the defense, Agent Marquez admitted that he did not know whether they were “short, tall, fat, skinny, bearded, young, old, or even male.” He stated “In my experience, they appeared to be “Other Than Mexican.”
      Agent Marquez also stated that January 17, 2018 was the first time Border Patrol agents in Ajo set up surveillance at the Barn. This happened just hours after No More Deaths released a report called The Disappeared Part 2: Interference on Humanitarian and video of agents destroying humanitarian aid supplies.
      Second to take the stand was Border Patrol Agent Brendan Burns, who was the one who first referred to the migrants as “toncs”.
      According to Agent Burns, when he approached the Barn that day, defendant Scott Warren told him that it was private property and a humanitarian aid space. He also asked the Agents to leave the property. Burns ignored him because, according to his surveillance, “the aliens didn’t appear to be in need of humanitarian aid.” When asked by the defense whether he has any medical credentials, the agent admitted to having none.
      Five days after the arrests, a search warrant was issued for the Barn. Evidence seized included a receipt for a cherry coke, banana nut muffin and chips, a fridge note saying “bagels from flagstaff!” and a list of supplies for a camping trip.

      Day 1 – May 29, 2019

      After a moving press conference in the morning, a jury was selected of 15 people — 12 jurors and 3 alternates.
      In his opening argument this afternoon, US Attorney Nathaniel Walters claimed that “this case is not about humanitarian aid,” urging jurors to ignore the realities of death and disappearance happening in the desert surrounding Ajo, Arizona.
      The prosecution’s entire case for the charge of “conspiracy to harbor and transport” undocumented migrants appeared to hinge on the fact that two undocumented men arrived at the Barn, “and then Scott showed up” a few hours later.
      The prosecution also harped on the fact that the men had “eaten food” prior to arriving at the Barn, apparently arguing that because the two men split one burrito after walking for two days through the desert, they were not in need of food or water
      Lawyers for the defense firmly asserted in their opening arguments that this case IS about humanitarian aid, and that Scott’s actions must be understood as a part of his deep knowledge of suffering throughout the desert and commitment to working to end it. “Scott intended one thing: to provide basic human kindness in the form of humanitarian aid.”
      The government also argued that Scott was pointing out known landmarks to the two migrants. “Defendant appeared to be pointing out different features, lots of hand motions. I could not hear them but there were hand gestures, up and down, in wave motions, rolling hills, pointing to known points of interest.” However, as the defense firmly stated “orientation is just as much of a human right as is food, water, and shelter.” In the context of death and disappearance in the desert, knowing where you are can save your life.
      The government called their first witness, Border Patrol Agent John Marquez. Marquez testified to setting up surveillance on the Barn on January 17, 2018 and seeing Scott speaking with two men, who he presumed were undocumented based on “ill-fitting clothing” and the fact that they were “scanning the horizon.” No evidence was presented that Scott intended to hide or conceal anyone. Judge Collins called an end to the day before the defense’s cross-examination of Marquez.


      http://forms.nomoredeaths.org/dailytrialupdates
      #procès

      –---------

      Trial continued this afternoon with video testimony from José, the other material witness arrested with Scott, who confirmed that he and Kristian were both hungry, cold, and very tired when they arrived at the barn.

      José also described their experience of being scattered by the #BorderPatrol, and how most of the men in his group had to stop walking because they were so beat up from spending just one day in the desert.

      Chase and scatter is just one of the deadly apprehension tactics used by BP which result in increased numbers of deaths and disappearances. “Prevention through Deterrence” is the name of the overall strategy of pushing migrants deep into the desert.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7Ux__uVfNA

      https://twitter.com/NoMoreDeaths/status/1135690665399017473

    • In Scott Warren’s No More Deaths Trial, Prosecutors Attempt to Paint a Web of Conspiracy

      For nearly a year and a half, U.S. government prosecutors in Arizona have sought to make an example out of Scott Warren. The 36-year-old geographer and border-based humanitarian aid volunteer was arrested with two undocumented migrants on January 17, 2018, and accused of providing the men with food, water, and a place to sleep over three days. A month later, a grand jury indicted him on two counts of harboring and one count of conspiracy, bringing the total amount time he could spend in prison — if convicted on all counts and sentenced to consecutive terms — to 20 years.

      Warren’s trial began in Tucson on Wednesday, marking the start of the most consequential prosecution of an American humanitarian aid provider in at least a decade. On Monday, assistant U.S. attorneys Anna Wright and Nathaniel J. Walters, who together have spearheaded an aggressive and controversial prosecutorial campaign against immigrant rights defenders in the Sonoran Desert, called their final witness to the stand.

      Over three and a half days of testimony, the prosecutors presented the jury with two Border Patrol agents who arrested Warren, a third who examined his phone, and some three hours of video-taped testimony from the young migrants he was arrested with, recorded before their deportations. The arresting agents provided little information beyond the bare facts of their operation as it unfolded, while the agent who testified about phone evidence seemed to paint a more incriminating picture of a man who was not charged in the case than he did of Warren. The migrants who were held as the government’s material witnesses described Warren as a figure who was hardly present during their short time in the U.S., beyond giving them permission to eat, sleep, and drink at a property he did not own, after they showed up with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

      The conspiracy charge in particular has cast an ominous pall over Warren’s case. As a prosecutorial tool, conspiracy charges can afford government attorneys sweeping powers in criminal cases. While the U.S. attorney’s office in Arizona was secretive about the nature of its theory of conspiracy with respect to Warren following his grand jury indictment, The Intercept revealed last month that the government considered Irineo Mujica, a prominent immigrants right advocate, a co-conspirator in the case. A dual U.S.-Mexican citizen, Mujica is the head of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, an immigrant rights organization known for its role in organizing the migrant caravans that have drawn President Trump’s outrage. He also operates a migrant shelter south of Ajo, the unincorporated community where Warren lives and works.

      In opening arguments last week, Walters confirmed that the government considered Mujica a key figure in Warren’s alleged offenses. “They were in contact with Irineo Mujica,” the prosecutor told the jury, referring to 23-year-old Kristian Perez-Villanueva and 20-year-old Jose Arnaldo Sacaria-Goday, the Central American migrants, from El Salvador and Honduras, respectively, whom Warren was arrested with. Not only that, Walters said, Mujica had driven the pair to “the Barn,” a property used by humanitarian volunteers operating in the area. Warren’s relationship to Mujica was that of a “shared acquaintance,” Walters said, and cellphone evidence would show that the two were in contact before the migrants arrived at the Barn.

      Mujica declined to comment for this story and has not been charged with a crime.

      On Monday afternoon, Rogelio Velasco, a Border Patrol agent in the Tucson sector’s intelligence unit, testified about the government’s telephonic evidence, describing how his work excavating cellphones is used to support the agency’s high-priority cases, often executed by its plainclothes “Disrupt” units. “We try to look for bigger cases where more people are involved,” he testified. Warren was arrested by a Disrupt unit.

      Wright and Walters’ interest in Warren and the humanitarian groups he volunteers with, particularly the faith-based organization No More Deaths, began in 2017, when the assistant U.S. attorneys brought federal misdemeanor charges against several members of the group — Warren included — for leaving water and other humanitarian aid supplies on public lands where migrants routinely die. Velasco explained how, after Warren’s arrest, the prosecutors directed him to focus on particular date ranges and communications included in Warren’s phone and a phone carried by Perez-Villanueva.

      As the Border Patrol agent carried out the prosecutors’ request, he said he found a series of communications between Perez-Villanueva and Mujica, beginning in December 2017 and extending through January 2018, when he and Sacaria-Goday, along with Warren, were arrested in Ajo. According to Velasco’s testimony, the messages showed that when the young migrants entered the U.S. on January 14, Perez-Villanueva texted Mujica, “We’re here.” To which Mujica replied, “I’m on my way.”

      The government’s efforts to tie alleged illegal activity between Mujica and Warren appeared to begin after Warren was taken into custody. Four months after Warren was indicted, Jarrett L. Lenker, a supervisory Border Patrol agent in the Tucson sector intelligence unit, submitted a search warrant affidavit for Warren’s iPhone, first uncovered by the Arizona Daily Star and obtained by The Intercept.

      Mujica was a central figure in Lenker’s affidavit. The Border Patrol agent described “a total of 16 phone calls or WhatsApp messages” exchanged between Perez-Villanueva and Mujica in the month before his arrest. Lenker’s affidavit also revealed that, through subpoenas, law enforcement identified two phone numbers “associated with Warren’s Verizon account” following his arrest: one belonging to Warren and the other belonging to his partner.

      In his testimony Monday, Velasco said that Mujica was a contact in Warren’s phone, and that the two had communications up through January 11, six days before his arrest. Warren also sent Mujica’s contact information to another person in his phone in the summer of 2017, Velasco testified.

      Following Velasco’s testimony, the prosecution called Border Patrol agent Brendan Burns, one of the Disrupt unit members principally involved in Warren’s arrest, to the witness stand. Burns described an incident a week after Warren’s arrest, in which Mujica was pulled over at a Border Patrol checkpoint outside Ajo. He drove to the scene and observed that Mujica’s van was the same vehicle featured in a selfie Perez-Villanueva and Sacaria-Goday took after they made it to the U.S. Inside the van were a number of items associated with illegal border crossings, Burns testified, including water jugs and foreign identification cards. The same incident was also described in Lenker’s affidavit, which noted that the ID cards belonged to individuals who had been removed from the U.S. Lenker also recounted an incident the following month, in which Mujica was again stopped at the same Border Patrol checkpoint and his passenger was arrested for being in the country illegally.

      Burns acknowledged having seen the photos of Perez-Villanueva and Sacaria-Goday in Mujica’s vehicle prior to his encounter with Mujica, and his knowledge that the vehicle belonged to Mujica. He testified that he did not, however, ask Mujica about the two young migrants, nor their alleged conspiracy with Scott Warren, nor did he place him under arrest.

      In opening statements last week, defense attorney Greg Kuykendall acknowledged that Warren had been in contact with Mujica days before his arrest, and that was because Mujica had information about a dead body outside Ajo. The remains of roughly 3,000 people have been recovered in the Arizona desert since 2000, the grim consequence of a government policy that deliberately funnels migrants into the most lethal areas of the U.S.-Mexico border. Since 2014, Warren has brought together a network of humanitarian groups working to confront the loss of life in the state’s deadliest region, the so-called west desert. Those efforts have yielded a historic increase in the number of bodies and human remains accounted for in the area.

      On cross examination Monday, Kuykendall zeroed in on the evidence Velasco’s examination of Warren’s phone had uncovered. The defense attorney first established, with Velasco’s admission, that there were no communications recorded between Perez-Villanueva and Warren (Sacaria-Goday tossed his phone while the pair were in the desert). He then focused on Warren’s communications with Mujica.

      “Are you aware that Scott and Irineo are involved in humanitarian aid efforts?” Kuykendall asked.

      “I think I might’ve heard something,” Velasco replied. “But I’m not exactly sure.”

      (Warren’s humanitarian aid work was noted in both internal Border Patrol reports and news accounts before and after his arrest — he and Mujica were featured in a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper series in 2017 detailing their efforts to find dead and lost migrants in the desert.)

      Velasco admitted that he had no idea what Warren and Mujica discussed the week before Warren’s arrest, nor had he taken note of what Warren had Googled as soon as the pair got off the phone. Kuykendall informed the jury that those searches included information on backcountry areas south of Ajo, a news report on a humanitarian group conducting search and rescue operations in the region, and the English translation of a Spanish word for scratches. Following the Google searches, Kuykendall told the jury, Warren called Dr. Norma Price, a physician who has long provided medical advice to No More Deaths volunteers.

      Kuykendall questioned Velasco about his testimony regarding Warren’s communications with a woman named “Susannah.” Velasco admitted that he did not know who Susannah was and that he “saw nothing that directly suggested” she and Warren were communicating about criminal activity. Instead, he testified, they were messaging one another about “providing water in different areas.” Moving along, Kuykendall asked if Velasco was aware that Perez-Villanueva worked for Mujica while staying at his shelter in Mexico — a potential explanation for their repeated communications in the winter of 2017. Velasco appeared uncertain, and acknowledged that from January 10 to the afternoon of January 14, when the migrants arrived in Ajo, there were no communications between Perez-Villanueva and Mujica.

      “When he was crossing I didn’t come up with any messages,” Velasco testified.

      In opening arguments last week, Kuykendall explained how, in the days leading up to his arrest, Warren spent his time training new humanitarian volunteers, assisting sheriff’s deputies in the search for a body, and performing his duties as a new instructor at Tohono O’odham Community College, a school for residents of the Native American reservation outside Ajo. In early January 2018, five new No More Deaths volunteers had arrived in Ajo. As the local expert, it was up to Warren to show them the ropes and familiarize them with the organization’s protocols — protocols, Kuykendall said, that are intended to ensure the group’s work is “effective, responsible, and legal.”

      On Thursday, January 11, Warren was at home when Mujica called to inform him about the human remains he had heard about, Kuykendall said, noting that Warren had the experience and know-how to organize a grid search in the area. Efforts to coordinate a search were the extent of communications between Warren and Mujica, the defense attorney said. The following day, Warren took the new volunteers to a migrant shelter in Mexico, where they distributed “harm reduction” kits, consisting of chlorine to purify water, ointment for blisters, combs for removing cholla cactus spines, and lists of emergency numbers, including 911.

      “No More Deaths’ role is to reduce the harm,” Kuykendall told the jury, not to encourage people to cross a desert that has claimed thousands of lives.

      Warren spent much of the following weekend at home with the flu, Kuykendall said, coordinating rescue operations by phone and working to link up Pima County sheriff’s deputies with No More Deaths volunteers in the field. Warren’s responsibilities involved preparing new volunteers, operationally and emotionally, for the possibility of finding a dead body in the desert. On the night of Sunday, January 14, they also included making dinner for the new recruits at the Barn. Warren returned to the building with groceries that afternoon to find two young men — Perez-Villanueva and Sacaria-Goday — already inside.

      “Scott’s spooked,” Kuykendall said of Warren’s reaction.

      In the depositions played for the jury Monday, Perez-Villanueva and Sacaria-Goday described a harrowing journey through the desert that involved being chased by law enforcement and losing many of their supplies. Perez-Villanueva described fleeing problems in El Salvador and said that he had no intention to enter the U.S. until those problems cropped up in Mexico. The pair had crossed in a group of five but were quickly on their own, their companions slowed down by thorns in their feet. “Between the two of us, we made a good team,” Perez-Villanueva said. “We supported each other mutually.” The young men testified to crossing the desert and tossing their food and backpacks when they were chased by immigration agents. They eventually made it to a gas station outside Ajo, where “a gringo” drove them to second gas station in town.

      Neither of the migrants identified the man who then drove to the Barn, though Perez-Villanueva testified that the man told them not to describe his role in delivering them there, and that he honored that request. The pair let themselves in through an unlocked door. Warren arrived approximately 40 minutes later. “They tell him that they’re hungry,” Kuykendall told the jury. “They tell him that they’re thirsty. They tell him that they’re tired.”

      Warren grabbed a form No More Deaths uses to catalog medical evaluations of migrants encountered in the field, the defense attorney said. Warren, a certified wilderness first responder, found that Perez-Villanueva had blisters on his feet, a persistent cough, and signs of dehydration. Sacaria-Goday’s conditions were much the same, though he was also suffering from chest pain. In keeping with No More Deaths’ protocol, Warren called a nurse before starting dinner for the volunteers that were set to arrive — as well as their two new guests.

      “He gives food to hungry men,” Kuykendall told the jury. “They share a meal with the volunteers.”

      By phone, Dr. Price advised the two young migrants to stay off their feet for a couple days, to stay hydrated, and asked the volunteers to keep them under observation, Kuykendall told the jury. Warren came and went in the days that followed, as did other No More Deaths volunteers. “He hardly spent time there,” Sacaria-Goday testified. “I hardly spoke with him,” Perez-Villanueva said.

      On Tuesday, January 16, Warren had his first day teaching at the community college. The following day, he worked from home. A group of high school students were scheduled to visit the Barn that night. Warren pulled up to the Barn in the afternoon, Kuykendall said, as Perez-Villanueva and Sacaria-Goday were preparing to leave. The three spoke outside. Across a desert wash, two plainclothes Border Patrol agents were conducting “covert surveillance,” in the words of Walters, the government prosecutor.

      “Toncs at the barn,” agent Burns wrote in a group text, using a slang word for migrants known to reflect the sound a flashlight makes when it connects with a human skull.

      The lead agent on the arrest operation was John Marquez. In his testimony last week, Marquez’s narrative began the afternoon of Warren’s arrest, though he acknowledged doing a bit of “background research,” in Kuykendall’s words, on Warren before taking him into custody. In fact, texts messages The Intercept has previously reported upon show Marquez repeatedly communicating with local Fish and Wildlife agents about Warren’s whereabouts and No More Deaths’ humanitarian activity in the run-up to his arrest. In a report he filed after Warren was taken into custody, Marquez described him as a “recruiter” for the organization, who regularly comments publicly on immigration issues.

      Under questioning from the prosecution, Marquez highlighted hand gestures Warren allegedly made while standing outside with Perez-Villanueva and Sacaria-Goday as evidence that he was providing them directions north. Upon cross examination, however, he acknowledged that this apparently important detail was not included in his arrest report. Perez-Villanueva and Sacaria-Goday, meanwhile, both testified that Warren did not provide them directions for their journey. He never advised them to hide in the Barn, they said, and they were free to come and go as they pleased.

      Marquez and Burns descended on the Barn with backup provided by a law enforcement caravan that had mustered at a hotel down the road. Warren, Perez-Villanueva, and Sacaria-Goday were all placed under arrest. The migrants were held in government custody for several weeks before providing their testimony and being deported to their home countries.

      “There is one question in this case,” Kuykendall told the jury considering Warren’s actions in the days leading up to his arrest. “Did he intend to violate the law?” The government did not have the evidence to prove that he did, the defense attorney argued.

      “Scott intended one thing,” he said. “To provide basic human kindness in the form of humanitarian aid.”

      https://theintercept.com/2019/06/04/scott-warren-no-more-deaths-trial-conspiracy-phone

    • UN experts urge US authorities to drop charges against aid worker Scott Warren

      GENEVA (5 June 2019) – UN human rights experts* have expressed grave concerns about criminal charges brought against Scott Warren, a U.S. citizen who works for an aid organisation providing water and medical aid to migrants in the Arizona desert.

      Warren’s trial began on 29 May 2019, and if found guilty he faces up to 20 years in jail.

      “Providing humanitarian aid is not a crime. We urge the US authorities to immediately drop all charges against Scott Warren,” the experts said.

      Warren, 36, lives in the desert town of Ajo, Arizona, where he helped to establish the organisation No More Deaths, which provides humanitarian assistance along migration routes. For the past 10 years, he has helped migrants and asylum seekers attempting to cross the Arizona - Mexican border through the Sonora desert.

      Border Control agents arrested the human rights defender on 17 January 2018 at “the Barn”, a humanitarian shelter in the Sonora Desert, while he was providing assistance to two undocumented migrants. His arrest came hours after the release of a report from No More Deaths which documented the implication of Border Control agents in the systematic destruction of humanitarian supplies, including water stores, and denounced a pattern of harassment, intimidation and surveillance against humanitarian aid workers.

      Warren faces charges on two counts of “harboring” migrants and one count of “conspiring to transport and harbor” migrants.

      Arizona has some of the deadliest migrant corridors along the US border, accounting for more than a third of more than 7,000 border deaths recorded by US authorities over the last two decades. The actual numbers are likely to be higher, given the remains of many of those who die are not recovered.

      “The vital and legitimate humanitarian work of Scott Warren and No More Deaths upholds the right to life and prevents the deaths of migrants and asylum seekers at the US-Mexican border,” said the UN experts.

      “The prosecution of Scott Warren represents an unacceptable escalation of existing patterns criminalising migrant rights defenders along the migrant caravan routes.”

      The experts are in contact with the U.S. authorities on the issues.

      https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=24675&LangID=E

    • Judge declares mistrial in Tucson trial of aid volunteer accused of harboring migrants

      Jurors in the high-profile felony trial against Scott Warren — a humanitarian-aid volunteer charged with harboring two undocumented immigrants in southwestern Arizona — were unable to reach a verdict, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial in the case.

      U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins brought the 12-person jury into the Tucson federal courtroom on the afternoon of June 11, after they indicated for a second time that they were deadlocked on all three charges Warren faced.

      The judge dismissed the jury after each member told him that additional time deliberating would not result in a verdict.

      Collins scheduled a status conference on the trial for July 2, when prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona will decide whether to try Warren again before another jury.

      Prosecutors declined to comment after the judge dismissed the jury, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona has not responded to a request for comment.

      Warren, 36, a volunteer with the group No More Deaths, faced up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.

      He’s accused of conspiring to transport two undocumented immigrants, Kristian Perez-Villanueva and Jose Arnaldo Sacaria-Goday, and of harboring them for several days in January 2018 in Ajo, Arizona.

      Speaking to reporters outside the federal courthouse, Warren acknowledged that he’d be back in court in a month’s time to learn if the legal case against him would continue.

      But he thanked his supporters who filled the courthouse to capacity on each of the seven days of testimony.

      “But the other men arrested with me that day, Jose Sacaria-Goday and Kristian Perez-Villanueva, have not received the outpouring of support that I have,” Warren said. “I do not know how they are doing now. But I desperately hope that they are safe.”

      Warren said that the need to provide humanitarian aid to migrants crossing the desert along the U.S.-Mexico border still is “as necessary” as ever.

      He pointed out that since his arrest on Jan. 17, 2018, the remains of 88 migrants were recovered from the Ajo corridor, a remote and notoriously rugged desert wilderness in southwestern Arizona.

      Greg Kuykendall, the lead attorney in his defense team, praised volunteers, such as Warren, for using their time and resources to help migrants in need.

      He declined to answer questions about the possibility of a retrial.

      “The government put on its best case, with the full force and countless resources, and 12 jurors could not agree with that case,” Kuykendall said. “We remain devoted today in our commitment to defend Scott’s lifelong devotion to providing humanitarian aid.”
      Volunteers say border humanitarian work will continue

      The hung jury in Warren’s felony trial follows the convictions of several other No More Deaths volunteers for carrying out humanitarian aid duties along protected wilderness areas along the Arizona border.

      In January, a federal judge in Tucson convicted four volunteers of misdemeanors for entering a wildlife refuge without a permit and dropping off food and water for migrants. He sentenced them to 15 months probation, ordered them to pay a fine of $150, and banned them from the refuge.

      The following month, four other No More Deaths volunteers pleaded guilty to a civil infraction of entering a wildlife refuge without a permit, and agreed to pay $280 in fines.

      Warren is also awaiting the outcome of a separate misdemeanor case brought against him for entering protected wilderness areas without a permit.

      Page Corich-Kleim, a longtime volunteer with No More Deaths, said despite these results, their work in providing humanitarian aid will continue along southwestern Arizona.

      “This evening, we have a group of volunteers driving out to Ajo to put water out,” she said. “So throughout this whole trial, we haven’t stopped doing our work and we’re not going to stop doing our work.”

      The jury began deliberations midday on Friday, after attorneys presented their closing arguments in Tucson federal court. But after nearly 15 hours of deliberations, they were unable to reach consensus on the three felony counts against Warren.

      The jurors first notified Collins late Monday afternoon that they were unable to reach a verdict in the case. But the judge asked them to try once again on Tuesday morning.

      But after deadlocking once again on Tuesday morning, Collins thanked them and dismissed them from jury duty.

      The jurors left the courthouse without speaking to the media.
      Prosecutors said Warren conspired to harbor migrants

      During the trial, prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona argued that the two migrants were in good health and did not need medical care when they showed up to a building known as “the Barn” on Jan. 14, 2018.

      The prosecutors argued that Warren had conspired with Irineo Mujica, a migrants-rights activist who runs a shelter in nearby Sonoyta, Mexico, to take in the two migrants and shield them from Border Patrol. They also alleged that the humanitarian aid was used as a “cover” to help them further their journey illegally into the United States.

      Agents arrested Warren, as well as Perez-Villanueva and Sacaria-Goday, during a Jan. 17, 2018, raid of the Barn, after they had set up surveillance of the area.

      Defense attorneys for Warren said he had no idea that the two men would be at the Barn when he arrived, and that he had followed the protocols No More Deaths had established to provide a medical assessment, as well as food, water, shelter and orientation to the two migrants.

      Warren’s intent was not to break the law, but rather to provide lifesaving aid, his attorneys said.

      https://eu.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/border-issues/2019/06/11/scott-warren-verdict-aiding-undocumented-immigrants-on-us-mexico-border-no-more-deaths/1387036001

    • Jurors refuse to convict activist facing 20 years for helping migrants

      Jury could not reach a verdict against Scott Daniel Warren who was arrested in 2018 for giving migrants water, food and lodging.

      A US jury could not reach a verdict on Tuesday against a border activist who, defense attorneys say, was simply being kind by providing two migrants with water, food and lodging when he was arrested in early 2018.

      Scott Daniel Warren, a 36-year-old college geography instructor, was charged with conspiracy to transport and harbor migrants in a trial that humanitarian aid groups said would have wide implications for their work. He faced up to 20 years in prison.

      Prosecutors maintained the men were not in distress and Warren conspired to transport and harbor them at a property used for providing aid to migrants in an Arizona town near the US-Mexico border.

      The case played out as humanitarian groups say they are coming under increasing scrutiny under Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies.

      Outside the courthouse, Warren thanked his supporters and criticized the government’s efforts to crack down on the number of immigrants coming to the US.

      “Today it remains as necessary as ever for local residents and humanitarian aid volunteers to stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees, and we must also stand for our families, friends and neighbors in the very land itself most threatened by the militarization of our borderland communities,” Warren said.

      Glenn McCormick, a spokesman for the US attorney’s office in Arizona, declined to comment on whether Warren would face another trial. The judge set a 2 July status hearing for the defense and prosecution.

      Warren is one of nine members of the humanitarian aid group No More Deaths who have been charged with crimes related to their work. But he is the only one to face felony charges.

      In west Texas, a county attorney was detained earlier this year after stopping her car on a dark highway to pick up three young migrants who flagged her down. Teresa Todd was held briefly, and federal agents searched her cellphone.

      Border activists say they worry about what they see as the gradual criminalization of humanitarian action.

      Warren has said his case could set a dangerous precedent by expanding the definition of the crimes of transporting and harboring migrants to include people merely trying to help border-crossers in desperate need of water or other necessities.

      Warren and other volunteers with the No More Deaths group also were targeted this year in separate federal misdemeanor cases after leaving water, canned food and other provisions for migrants hiking through the Cabeza Prieta national wildlife refuge in southern Arizona.

      In Warren’s felony case, the defense team headed by Greg Kuykendall argued that Warren could not, in good conscience, turn away two migrants who had recently crossed the desert to enter the US.

      Jurors said on Monday that they could not reach a consensus on the charges against Warren, but a federal judge told them to keep deliberating. They were still deadlocked on Tuesday and ultimately dismissed.

      Thousands of migrants have died crossing the border since the mid-1990s, when heightened enforcement pushed migrant traffic into Arizona’s scorching deserts.

      https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/11/arizona-activist-migrant-water-scott-daniel-warren-verdict

    • The gripping case of Scott Warren

      Is offering assistance to illegal immigrants a protected religious practice?

      ONE TROUBLE with liberty is that you never know what people will do with it. In recent years, American conservatives have been passionate defenders of individual religious freedoms, such as the right to have nothing to do with same-sex weddings. But Scott Warren (pictured), an idealistic geographer who is facing felony charges for succouring migrants in the Arizona desert, has now become a standard-bearer for a very different sort of conscientious objection.

      On June 11th his trial, which has been closely watched at the liberal end of America’s religious spectrum, reached deadlock after jurors failed to agree despite three days of deliberation. That was a better result than Mr Warren and his many supporters feared. Prosecutors may seek a retrial.

      https://www.economist.com/united-states/2019/06/15/the-gripping-case-of-scott-warren

    • USA: Decision to retry Dr. Scott Warren is part of wider campaign against human rights defenders

      In response to US federal prosecutors deciding today to retry the human rights defender Dr. Scott Warren after a previous attempt to prosecute him ended in a mistrial, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director Amnesty International, said:

      “By deciding to mount an entirely new trial against Dr. Scott Warren, the Trump administration is doubling down on its attacks against human rights defenders who are doing necessary and life-saving work at the US-Mexico border.”

      “Amnesty International has documented that the criminalization of Dr. Warren is not an isolated incident, but part of a larger politically-motivated campaign of harassment and intimidation by the US government that is in clear violation of US and international law. The US government must immediately halt these campaigns, and Congress should hold authorities accountable for their abuse of power.”


      https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/07/usa-decision-retry-scott-warren-part-of-wider-campaign-against-human-rights