United Nations requests immediate release of Milagro Sala, a prominent Argentine social leader

Joint press release by Amnistía Internacional Argentina, CELS and ANDHES.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention determined that “the detention of Ms. Milagro Sala is arbitrary” and as a result solicited that “the government of the Argentine Republic release her immediately.”

The Working Group stated that there was a scheme of “consecutive accusations” and the initiation of judicial cases aimed at sustaining her deprivation of liberty indefinitely over time. The Group concluded that in this case the principle of judicial independence is being violated.

In addition, upon analyzing the judicial cases for which Sala is being deprived of her liberty, it concluded that there are no legal elements that justify her pretrial detention. The members of the Group held that no risk of flight or of obstruction of the investigation that would justify her deprivation of liberty was demonstrated in this case.

At the same time, the resolution issued by the Working Group determined that the Argentine State impeded Sala’s exercise of the right to defend herself due to the lack of specificity and clarity regarding the acts attributed to her and because she was not adequately informed of the crimes she is accused of. In addition, it stated that Milagro Sala should not have been detained at all given the privileges she enjoys as a member of the Mercosur’s Parliament.

Furthermore, the Group resolved that Sala’s detention “came about as a result of the exercise of her human rights” and solicited her immediate release. It also requested that the violation of her rights be investigated and that the State inform the Group how it will ensure that such incidents do not happen again. The Argentine State has the responsibility to comply with the measures set forth by the Working Group.

This decision is the result of an international complaint that Amnesty International, CELS and Abogados y Abogadas del Noroeste Argentino en Derechos Humanos y Estudios Sociales (ANDHES) filed in February of this year, just weeks after Milagro Sala was detained in the province of Jujuy. This process involved numerous successive presentations made by the organizations and the Argentine State.

Amnistía Internacional Argentina