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News > Latin America

UN to Mauricio Macri: Free Indigenous Leader Milagro Sala

  • The UN has called for Milagro Sala to be released.

    The UN has called for Milagro Sala to be released. | Photo: LaVoz.com.ar

Published 6 March 2016

Sala has been in detention for nearly two months after protesting a local governor's threat to her social programs.

The United Nations is calling for an explanation of the ongoing two-month detention of Milagro Sala, an Indigenous lawmaker and activist in Argentina.

The Centre of Legal and Social Studies, Amnesty International, and Argentine lawyers collective Andhes submitted a request to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in February and to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in January to guarantee her freedom and the right to freedom and expression. Argentine President Mauricio Macri supports the arrest of Sala, who faces embezzlement charges after being jailed by Macri ally and Juyjuy Governor Gerardo Morales for public disturbance.

Sala was protesting Morales’ proposed changes to the Indigenista Tupac Amaru organization, which she founded and runs, that provides social services to tens of thousands. Her arrest drew large protests for her release, but she was denied a habeas corpus plea.

“Organizing collective action does not mean ‘inciting crimes,’ a massive demonstration is not ‘public disturbance’ and to oppose a government decision is not ‘an act of sedition.’ They are all democratic freedoms,” said the Buenos Aires Provincial Commission for Memory.

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Argentina's Office of Institutional Violence, Procuvin, deemed Sala’s arrest illegal last week, finding that “the two judges and the prosecutor who participated in this process have committed crimes under the penal code.” The investigation for “illegal deprivation of liberty and aggravated breach of trust” came after a request by Mercosur, for which Sala is a lawmaker.

Last week, Macri sent officials to offer Sala house arrest, but she refused the “extortion.” The visit came right before the president met with Pope Francis, who sent Sala rosary beads following her appeal for help.

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