Members of the social organization Tupac Amaru along with activists from other social movements occupied the iconic Plaza de Mayo in front of the Argentine Presidential Palace on Tuesday demanding the immediate release of Milagro Sala, who’s been in prison since January.
The latest demonstrations take place as Milagro Sala, an imprisoned Indigenous activist and lawmaker in Argentina, launched a hunger strike on Friday in protest of her conditions in jail where she is being held in solitary confinement and incommunicado.
Sala has been kept in isolation for over a week due to her alleged “poor behavior,” according to Victor Carlos Morales, head of the Provincial Prison Service.
A political group known as the Let Us Be Free Movement, which supports Sala, said the order to put her in solitary confinement came directly from the governor of the province of Jujuy, Gerardo Morales.
“We condemn the actions of the provincial government, which systematically violates human rights, and we demand the immediate release of Milagro,” read a statement by the group.
According to the group she is being held in a cell that measures only 3 meters by 2 meters. Neither Sala nor her lawyers were given notice that she would be place in solitary.
Sala has continued with her political activism from behind bars, advocating for the rights of her fellow prisoners, drawing the ire of jail officials.
The longtime activist and lawmaker for the Mercosur Parliament has been jailed since January on charges of public disturbance after staging a month-long sit-in against Morales’ neoliberal policies alongside other activists. She was accused of illicit association and fraud based on alleged mismanagement of public funds.
Sala says she is not guilty of any wrongdoing and alleges that due process is not being respected.
According to human rights activists in Argentina, her detention is politically motivated and an example of the criminalization of protest. Sala is widely considered by social movements to be a political prisoner.
Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales is an ally of right-wing President Mauricio Macri and his Radical party is part of the president’s conservative coalition Cambiemos.
Macri has publicly backed Morales' persecution of Sala.
Macri has regularly criticized the leftist Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro for allegedly jailing political opponents and has called for the release of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez.
During a trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, Macri was questioned over this apparent hypocrisy and responded with indignation.
“You cannot compare Leopoldo Lopez with Milagro Sala! Lopez did not do anything wrong so as to compare him to Milagro Sala,” said Macri as quoted by La Izquierda Diario.
Lopez was found guilty of incitement to violence as a result of his calls for anti-government protests that left 43 people dead. Lopez recently lost an appeal.