THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Monday, August 10, 2009

No More Deaths Update: Court Tomorrow

Straight From No More Deaths:

Sentencing Tomorrow for NMD Volunteer

This summer is already on par to be one of the deadliest on record, and it will also be one of the busiest on record for No More Deaths. This past week alone, seven bodies were recovered from the deserts of southern Arizona. Despite a reduction in the number of Border Patrol apprehensions, the toll of the U.S.'s deadly border policy continues to grow - demonstrating the need for a strong and continued humanitarian presence.

On Tuesday, volunteer Walt Staton will be sentenced in federal court for his littering ticket. We are hoping for a strong show of support at the hearing, and all are invited to pack Magistrate Jennifer Guerin’s court room at 9:00 am (the courthouse is on the SW corner of Congress and Granada.)

The prosecutor prepared a lengthy memo to the judge asking for a harsh sentence, saying that Staton’s sentence should have a “strong deterrence effect.” They propose a $5,000 fine and five years of probation, including a ban from the wildlife refuge. Staton and his attorney will ask for a suspended sentence with no fine or probation.

Letters of support were delivered to the judge, including two from the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity—both groups asserting that poor US policy, not water jugs, present the biggest threat to the environment along the border.

No More Deaths volunteers were joined by other humanitarians from Tucson Samaritans and Humane Borders to show their commitment to providing direct aid to migrants on July 9 when thirteen more volunteers were cited for littering while attempting to leave water along migrant trails. Their action came as a heat wave began in southern Arizona, bringing deadly 110-degree temperatures to the desert along the border.

The next morning, No More Deaths received a phone call from the Department of the Interior asking if we would be able to meet with Secretary Ken Salazar in the near future. Seven people attended a meeting in D.C. with Salazar and his staff on July 19 to begin working towards a solution. (The Tucson Weekly: Meeting with the Secretary)

That meeting paved the way to another meeting with regional Fish and Wildlife staff and Mike Hawkes, the manager of Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge. We presented them with a memorandum of understanding for an agreement where we can continue placing much-needed jugs of water if we also commit to picking up twice as much trash. We hope to reach an agreement later in August.

In parallel to our desert activities, we are still working hard at pressing Homeland Security to provide better treatment to people in their custody, specifically to migrants in short-term custody held by Border Patrol. We met with Alan Bersin, the Border Czar, to discuss the findings in our report, Crossing the Line, along with other concerns.

On Capitol Hill, Senators Menendez and Gillibrand introduced a bill on July 30 called the Strong STANDARDS Act that contains requirements for short-term detention. Without the advocacy of No More Deaths, the issue of unregulated conditions in short term detention facilities would not have received this much deserved attention.

No More Deaths is grateful to all the volunteers putting time and energy into this wide array of issues - all with the goal of ending death and suffering in the desert.

1 comment:

  1. "Letters of support were delivered to the judge, including two from the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity—both groups asserting that poor US policy, not water jugs, present the biggest threat to the environment along the border." Yes indeed, what about that wall, is not that littering, and disdain for the environment?
    Good luck to those having to stand trial today for helping to save lives! Much respect.
    AP

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