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September 4, 2006

charges against Sellz/Strauss dismissed

This past Friday, the ridiculous charges against Shanti Sellz and Daniel Strauss were dismissed. The Tucson Citizen reports:

In a dramatic ruling Friday, the year-long case against humanitarians Shanti Sellz and Daniel Strauss was dismissed.

U.S. District Judge Raner Collins found that the government for years has led No More Deaths volunteers to believe they could legally provide care to ailing illegal immigrants. Sellz and Strauss could not be prosecuted for what had been deemed legal, Collins found.

The college students were in the desert near Arivaca on July 9, 2005, when they encountered five illegal immigrants. Two of the men showed signs of severe dehydration, so Sellz and Strauss called physicians in Tucson and were advised to rush the men to a hospital.
Before they could reach Tucson, Border Patrol agents arrested them and apprehended the two men.

Sellz and Strauss willingly faced an uncertain future, refusing from the outset to accept a plea agreement.

"We have committed no crime," Strauss said on July 21, 2005.

On Friday, Collins agreed. "The judge recognized that Samaritans (a group that is part of No More Deaths) really is a humanitarian organization," said Bill Walker, who joined Stanley Feldman, a former chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, to defend Sellz free of charge. "What the judge said is, No More Deaths isn't an organization smuggling immigrants. "That's a great victory for everybody in Tucson and on the border who wants to make sure people don't die in the desert."

The Rev. John Fife, founder of Samaritans, rejoiced. "This is vindication for our position from the very beginning. And that is, humanitarian aid is never a crime," he said.
(full article)

For background on this case, view the video posted on Migra Matters last February.

Posted by almamia at September 4, 2006 9:34 PM


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