Four women convicted for leaving water for migrants in desert along US border
This seems wrong.
Four aid workers were convicted of misdemeanour charges over the weekend connected to their efforts to leave food and water for migrants in an Arizona wildlife refuge along the US-Mexico border.
The four women were volunteers at No More Deaths, a group that seeks to end the deaths of undocumented immigrants crossing the desert near the Mexican/US border.
No More Deaths claims that 155 migrants have died in the refuge since 2001, and that the organisation aims to save lives by providing basic supplies.
The ruling, made by US magistrate Judge Bernardo Verlasco, was the first conviction against humanitarian aid volunteers in a decade.
In his verdict order, federal magistrate Judge Bernardo Velasco said the women's actions violated "the national decision to maintain the Refuge in its pristine nature".
Velasco also said the women committed the crimes believed, falsely, that they would not be prosecuted and, instead, would simply be banned or fined.
Catherine Gaffney, a volunteer for No More Deaths, said the guilty verdict challenges all "people of conscience throughout the country".
"If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country?" she said in a statement.