USA: Drop abusive criminal charges against humanitarian volunteer Scott Warren

The US Department of Justice should immediately drop the spurious criminal charges against humanitarian volunteer Dr Scott Warren in the state of Arizona on the US–Mexico border, said Amnesty International in a letter to US 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.

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
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.”

“US 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 12 November 2019, US authorities will prosecute Dr Warren for a second time on charges of “harbouring” two migrants, for providing them with humanitarian assistance in the town of Ajo 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.

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
Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International

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. Amnesty International is campaigning globally for the charges against Dr Scott Warren to be dropped.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Duncan Tucker: duncan.tucker@amnesty.org