GENEVA, June 5 (Xinhua) -- UN human rights experts Wednesday expressed "grave concerns" about criminal charges brought against Scott Warren, a U.S. citizen who works for an aid organization providing water and medical aid to migrants in the Arizona desert.
Warren's trial began May 29, and if found guilty he faces up to 20 years in jail, said the experts, one of whom is Felipe Gonzalez Morales, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.
"Providing humanitarian aid is not a crime. We urge the U.S. authorities to immediately drop all charges against Scott Warren," said the experts, all Special Rapporteurs for the United Nations, in a statement here.
Warren, 36, lives in the desert town of Ajo, Arizona, where he helped establish the No More Deaths organization that provides humanitarian assistance along migration routes.
For the past 10 years, he has helped migrants and asylum seekers attempting to cross the Arizona-Mexican border through the Sonora desert.
U.S. Border Control agents arrested Warren at "the Barn," a humanitarian shelter in the Sonora Desert, while he was assisting two undocumented migrants.
He was arrested hours after the release of a No More Deaths report documenting the implication of Border Control agents in the systematic destruction of humanitarian supplies, including water stores.
Warren faces charges on two counts of "harboring" migrants and one count of "conspiring to transport and harbor" migrants.
Arizona has some of the deadliest migrant corridors along the U.S. border, accounting for more than a third of more than 7,000 border deaths recorded by U.S. authorities over the last two decades, said the statement.
"The vital and legitimate humanitarian work of Scott Warren and No More Deaths upholds the right to life and prevents the deaths of migrants and asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexican border," said the UN experts.