Call for Federal Prosecutor Paul Charlton to Drop Charges

With the message that �Humanitarian Aid is Never a Crime,� the No More Deaths Coalition launched a campaign Wednesday to pressure the U.S. Attorney to drop charges against two volunteers who were arrested July 9 while bringing three dehydrated migrants to Tucson for emergency medical care.

Press conferences and events were held in Douglas, Tucson, Phoenix and Prescott to mobilize statewide support for No More Deaths and the right for citizens to provide humanitarian aid without fear of persecution.

Former U.S. Attorney Bates Butler led the Tucson press conference, questioning why the prosecutor's office of Paul Charlton (current federal attorney for the District of Arizona) - already over-extended in the prosecution of organized crime and drug smuggling - is choosing to use meager resources to prosecute two humanitarian volunteers.

�What is on trial here is a principal,� said movement lawyer Margo Cowen. �The United States is trying to criminalize the administering of life-saving aid. We are here to state unequivocally that humanitarian aid is never a crime,� she said. Cowan joined others in calling for Charlton to �do the right thing, and drop these charges.�

�With the deaths of more than 282 migrants in Southern Arizona in 2005, the need for the humanitarian work that Shanti Sellz and Daniel Strauss are being prosecuted for is greater than ever," Cowan said.

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