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Sat Oct 14, 2017, 04:06 PM

Argentine political prisoner Milagro Sala reimprisoned, flouting IACHR ruling

Last edited Sat Oct 14, 2017, 06:36 PM - Edit history (1)

Argentine Indigenous leader Milagro Sala has been removed from house arrest this morning and taken to prison, in what her lawyer describes as an abduction done without notification or knowledge of the defense.

Her reinmprisonment flouts a July 28 ruling by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ordering officials to comply with a formal UN request to release Sala from prison. IACHR rulings are legally binding in Argentina.

Sala's defense attorney, Elizabeth Gómez, described the move as an "abduction" by police forces against the elected lawmaker and activist. "It is an absolute illegality, reminding us of the darkest times of our country."

IACHR President Francisco Eguiguren condemned the decision, comparing it to the case of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, who was arrested on incitement charges in 2014 and who following international appeals was transferred to house arrest this July.

House arrest

Sala had been transferred to house arrest on August 31 pursuant to the IACHR ruling a month earlier.

Jujuy Province Governor Gerardo Morales, who ordered Sala's detention, resisted the IACHR ruling and then "complied" by having her moved to an abandoned house lacking doors, windows, basic amenities, or connections to public utilities.

Following the governor's refusal to fund improvements, private donations were raised for its refurbishment.

The Sala case

Sala, now 53, was ordered arrested on January 16, 2016, by Governor Morales on unsubstantiated charges of “inciting violence” — a charge that was later dropped.

She was charged nearly a year later with embezzlement, extortion, and conspiracy related to government earmarks for housing projects managed by the Túpac Amaru Association and related charges.

Critics note that prosecutors have offered no proof to substantiate charges, relying only on hearsay from individuals including an illiterate man who was later awarded a public contract and an ex-convict who was released despite serving a sentence for murder.

Citing lack of evidence and serious irregularities such as the use of bribed witnesses, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled on October 21, 2016, that Sala's detention is in fact arbitrary, and urged President Mauricio Macri (a close ally of Morales) to release her immediately. The IACHR did likewise on December 4.

At: https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Milagro-Salas-Transfer-Was-An-Abduction-Attorneys-Claim-20171014-0010.html

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