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News > Argentina

Argentine Activist Milagro Sala Faces up to 40 Years in Prison

  • A woman holds two signs reading

    A woman holds two signs reading "Free Lula" and "Free Milagro" at the Conference of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences in Buenos Aires, Argentina. November 19, 2018. | Photo: EFE

Published 19 December 2018

Founder of the Tupac Amaru Neighborhoods’ Organization, Sala claims the cases amount to political persecution.

Argentine prosecutors are demanding prison sentences of 22 and 18 years for activist and indigenous leader Milagro Sala, for her alleged involvement in a fraud case and an attempted murder, respectively.


Argentine Supreme Court Rejects Milagro Sala's Sentence Appeal

Sala is being investigated for alleged illicit association, fraud, and extortion, crimes she was charged with days after being detained in early 2016 for allegedly instigating violence during a protest against Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales, which she didn't attend. The case is known as the “Pibes Villeros” and Sala claims its all about political persecution to “to discipline the leaders and the opposition,” as she told teleSUR in October.

Her defense argues that this charge is a part of a series of accusations related to Morales’ fury against the social and political leader.  

After the sentence for the Pibes Villeros case was read on Wednesday morning, Sala told prosecutor Liliana Fernandez de Montiel “thanks for the 22 years you gave me.”

Fernandez answered saying that Sala had the opportunity to save herself “by revealing where the money is.”

“The money is in the public works. Besides, I am no one’s snitch,” answered Sala.

She is one of the founders of the Tupac Amaru Neighborhoods’ Organization, which provides housing and other services to informal workers and working-class sectors since 1999.

Prosecutors ordered the confiscation of some of Sala’s properties, including her husband’s car, her son’s car, two properties belonging to her daughter, another car, and a house in El Carmen, where she had been under house arrest.

“Milagro Sala’s defense, @EliGAlcorta, tells judges they have the opportunity to show that the judicature is not corroding despite political and judicial persecution lived in the province.”

Sala is also accused of paying a man named Fabian Avila to kill neighborhood leader Alberto Cardozo, who was recently detained, in exchange of a "house of her property." The case became known as the “Azopardo Shooting” and while the target was not killed, an 11-year-old girl was badly wounded.

The incident happened in 2007 and the case was not reopened until Mauricio Macri took over the presidency. Many of Sala’s supporters consider her Macri’s first political prisoner, a government she describes as “a gang of criminals.”

The charge against Sala was formulated after she was implicated by the main accused, Jorge Rafael Paes, in exchange for his freedom. Two policemen witnessed Paes in the scene of the crime. His testimony is the prosecution’s main evidence against her, but all witnesses have contradicted Paes’s narrative of the event.

She served as an Argentine legislator between 2013 and 2015 and was later elected to Mercosur’s parliament, prior to her arrest in 2016 for allegedly instigating violence against the state.

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