The Inter-American Commision on Human Rights, IACHR, has expressed concern over the repeated arrest and detention of Indigenous leader Milagro Sala and the “potential aggravation of the risk of harm it poses to her life and integrity.”
The agency also warned that the decision to detain the leader of the Tupac Amaru neighborhood association violates the precautionary measure it issued in her favor on July 28.
“Milagro Sala's transfer to prison characterizes non-compliance with the prevailing precautionary measure,” the agency wrote on its official Twitter account, adding that “we accompany her return to prison with great concern.”
Sala's husband, Raul Noro, said she was taken away by seven police officers "in handcuffs, in pajamas and barefoot." They knocked at the door at 7 a.m. local time claiming they had a warrant, he told El Destape. Sala had not been informed of her transfer.
According to her organization, she was taken to Alto Comedero prison in Jujuy.
Sala's defense attorney, Elizabeth Alcorta, described the move by the police as an "abduction," according to Sputnik News.
She explained that Judge Pullen Llermanos "has no jurisdiction over this house arrest to do what he did, that's why we say it's an abduction, because it is an absolute illegality, reminding us of the darkest times of our country.”
Sala described her latest detention as "foul play" by the provincial government and as a retaliation for her involvement in raising the case of Santiago Maldonado, a young activist who went missing during an Indigenous Mapuche demonstration.
Sala is a founder of the Tupac Amaru neighborhood association and legislator to the Mercosur Parliament, or Parlasur, where her work involves administering a public grant to build low-income housing in Argentina's northern province of Jujuy. She was arrested in January 2016 and detained until her transfer to house arrest on Aug. 30 on allegations of mishandling those funds and “inciting criminal acts” in a protest she led against authorities.
Sala denies any wrongdoing, and says that racism plays a key role in her ongoing detention and being subjected to torture and receiving death threats. As her initial trial began last December, Sala sarcastically apologized to the court and Jujuy state Governor Gerardo Morales, saying that she's sorry for “being Black and an Indian.”
Many human rights advocates have denounced her arrest and she has previously received support from Pope Francis, the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights and Amnesty International.