Tohono O’odham woman acquitted in protest of border wall construction
A Tohono O’odham woman was found not guilty Wednesday on federal misdemeanor charges stemming from her protest of border wall construction on her tribe’s ancestral land.
The acquittal of Amber Ortega came after a magistrate judge reversed her previous ruling that Ortega couldn’t use the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as her defense. After Ortega’s lawyer asked the court to reconsider the ruling, the judge ultimately decided the prosecution imposed a substantial burden on her exercise of religion.
The Arizona Daily Star reported that Ortega spoke to supporters outside the federal courthouse in Tucson after the verdict was read.
“This is our land, and our ways are not wrong,” Ortega said. “We, today, again defended our culture, our ways, our songs, our locations, our mountains, our sacred sites. Today was a victory for our people.”
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