By Cintia Garcia
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA—The United Nations demanded the release of Milagro Sala, an indigenous activist, claiming the Argentine government arbitrarily detained her. Milagro Sala was detained on January 16, 2016 while protesting reforms implemented by Jujuy’s provincial government.
Milagro Sala was arrested for “inciting criminal acts” in connection to the protests she has led against the government, specifically her attempt to block roads around the municipal buildings in San Salvador de Jujuy. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention report identified “a system of consecutive accusations and court cases that maintain Sala’s detention indefinitely and violate judicial independence.” The report continues by stating that there is no legal justification for her detention and “it has not been demonstrated that there is a risk of escape or of obstruction of the investigation.” A judge had ruled for Sala’s release on January 29th, but three days before her release, she was charged with extortion, fraud, and conspiracy. In addition, the report claims that the State blocked her right to defense by not informing her of the charges or the crimes accused of.
The United Nations is demanding the immediate release of Sala and for an investigation of the violations of her rights. The UN has asserted her detention was based on her exercising her human rights.
Milagro Sala is the head of the 70,000 member Tupac Amaru organization, as well as a representative in Parlasur, the parliamentary institution of the Mercosur trade bloc for South America. Sala has protested against President Mauricio Macri’s government since he took office. Sala is his administration’s first political prisoner. She was a supporter of former President Cristina Fernandez, who was accused of mismanaging money by constructing lower income housing in Jujuy province.
Many in Argentina have protested President Macri’s cuts in education, jobs, revisions to the tax and tariff rate, and the expansion of privileges for commercial exporters at the cost of farmers.
For more information, please see: