Thursday, September 2, 2010

Conviction overturned: Leaving water for dying migrants is not littering

Conviction overturned: Leaving gallons of water for dying migrants is not littering

Huge Victory! "Littering" Conviction Overturned
Contact: Adam Aguirre (520) 240-1641 daytime or evening
Dan Millis (928) 821-0331 daytime or evening
Photo: Humane Borders water in truck for desert.
Scroll down for court document.

September 2, 2010: “Littering” Conviction of Border Volunteer Overturned by Appeals Court
Press statement

LAS VEGAS --  In a 2-1 decision the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today overturned the

conviction of a humanitarian activist for “littering” near the U.S. border with Mexico, stating that the

clean bottles of drinking water placed on known migrant trails could not be considered “garbage” due

to their intended purpose of preventing death-by-exposure.

Dan Millis, a volunteer with the faith-based organization No More Deaths, had been convicted in

September 2008 for placing such water in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge (BANWR), in

the middle of one of the highest corridors of death along the Arizona border.

In response to today’s ruling Millis stated “I continue to be saddened by the ongoing tragedy along

the border; but I am pleased and relieved that the Court has finally made clear that humanitarian aid is

never a crime.”

On February 22, 2008 – two days after finding the body of a 14-year-old girl from El Salvador – Millis

became the first humanitarian to be ticketed for littering near the border. In the months that followed

his conviction refuge officials ticketed seventeen additional volunteers for attempting to provide water

on BANWR. Although sixteen of these cases were later dropped, No More Deaths volunteer Walt

Staton was convicted of a more severe littering charge in August 2009.

This year alone more than 214 human remains have been recovered from the southern Arizona desert,

putting 2010 on track to be the deadliest year on record along the Arizona / Mexico border. Last

month, BANWR officials rejected a permit request from No More Deaths and Samaritans to legally

place water at designated sites on the wildlife refuge. This permit application had been negotiated

with refuge managers during the course of the previous year, and they had provisionally agreed to its

content. Officials have refused to permit new water stations on the Buenos Aires National Wildlife

Refuge since 2001.

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Court reverses ruling: Water for dying migrants is not littering

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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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