Arizona border activist found not guilty of hiding migrants

Arizona border activist found not guilty of hiding migrants

FILE PHOTO: A yard sign in support of “No Más Muertes/No More Deaths” is displayed in the neighborhood surrounding the Evo A. DeConcini U.S. Courthouse, where humanitarian volunteer Scott Warren faces charges of harboring, and conspiracy to transport undocumented migrants in Tucson, Arizona, U.S. May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Caitlin O’Hara/File Photo

TUCSON, Ariz. (Reuters) – An Arizona jury on Wednesday found human rights activist Scott Warren not guilty of harboring two migrants who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally after the U.S. government prosecuted him for giving them food, water and shelter.

The Tucson jury’s acquittal came as Warren, 37, faced his second federal felony trial this year after a previous jury was unable to decide whether he broke the law by letting the men stay in a building in Ajo, Arizona, to recover from a desert trek.

Warren’s case drew the support of United Nations officials and Amnesty International who argued he was being persecuted for providing legal humanitarian aid in deadly Arizona deserts.

Federal prosecutors accused Warren of shielding the men from the U.S. Border Patrol and giving them directions while they stayed at the building known as “The Barn” from Jan. 14 to Jan. 17, 2018.

Warren’s lawyers said he was a “good Samaritan” who let them stay in the building as part of his group No More Deaths’ humanitarian aid for migrants crossing the Sonoran Desert.

The case was seen as an indicator of what assistance U.S. humanitarian workers, doctors and even employers can give to undocumented immigrants as U.S. President Donald Trump makes tougher immigration enforcement a major re-election theme.

Reporting by Paul Ingram in Tucson; Writing by Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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