Judge Orders Review of Properties for Milagro Sala's House Arrest


Argentine Judge Gaston Mercau has ordered for Thursday the inspection of two properties of the jailed Indigenous leader Milagro Sala in order to fulfill a request for her eventual house arrest.

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The order came after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said in a statement there are many risk factors surrounding Sala’s detention and demanded her release from jail.

The IACHR, affiliated to the Organization of American States, explained that it supports the resolution of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations that ordered the freedom of the social leader. It suggested options including “house arrest” or an “electronic bracelet” that “would allow Sala to participate in the proceedings in freedom.”

"Before deciding whether the application of any of the measures suggested in the resolution issued by the IACHR is feasible, an inspection should be ordered in the properties," the notice issued Tuesday said.

The measure is scheduled for two properties, one located in the department of El Carmen, about 17 miles from the provincial capital, and the other in the Cuyaya neighborhood of San Salvador de Jujuy, where the leader resided until her arrest.

As head of Argentina’s Tupac Amaru neighborhood association, part of the Association of State Workers of Jujuy, Sala won a seat in 2015 in the regional parliament of the Mercosur trade group of South American nations. She was arrested on Jan.16, 2016, after being accused of "inciting criminal acts" linked to a protest she led against authorities.

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The Jujuy provincial government in northern Argentina then broadened the charges, saying her movement "embezzled public funds" meant for the construction of housing for low-income people. Sala has denied any wrongdoing.

"Once again, the international organizations came to do justice to the serious violations of human rights in our country in the case of Milagro, as well as during the State Terrorism," said Elizabeth Gomez, a member of Sala’s defense team.

“The commission understood that Milagro’s case met the standards of urgency and that the granting of this precautionary measure is linked to safeguarding the right to life and physical integrity, understanding that part of this detention is linked to the fact that Milagro is a social leader, is a woman and an Indigenous person," she added.


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