On the pretext of curbing prison overcrowding, the Federal Penitentiary Service (SPF), which reports to the national Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, sent a list of 1,111 detained persons who, due to their time spent in prison, meet the requirements to obtain parole or house arrest with electronic monitoring. In this list of what are considered priority cases, the SPF included 96 people convicted of crimes against humanity, including Jorge “Tigre” Acosta, Julian “the Turk,” and former chaplain Christian Von Wernich, since they are inmates “older than 70 years of age.”
The undersigned human rights organizations repudiate this maneuver that conceals another attempt to benefit those convicted of crimes against humanity. The 96 repressors do not represent even 1% of the inmates in the Federal Penitentiary Service and many of them are housed in privileged places, such as the Campo de Mayo Penitentiary Unit, so one could hardly expect that their house arrest would reduce prison overpopulation.
For the first time the Federal Penitentiary System has structural overcrowding, with all of its units over capacity. This overcrowding is not due to the incarceration of those who committed the worst crimes, but rather to a criminal justice policy that massively incarcerates those with the fewest resources. The current prison situation is a product of the policy orientation that the executive branch itself has promoted with reforms toughening the law of sentence execution and criminal prosecution. This hardline approach leads to a sustained increase in incarceration: official projections indicate that the detained population will grow by 40 percent by 2020.
Far from designing an effective solution to this problem, the Justice Ministry ordered the SPF to send these lists to the System for Coordination, knowing that this body cannot make such decisions since they depend on the judges in each case. In other words, this measure does not represent an in-depth solution to the problem of overpopulation, but it does conceal a clear message to the judicial branch that those convicted of crimes against humanity should be granted release. These people are torturers, kidnappers, murderers and appropriators of children who, to this very day, continue to uphold their covenants of silence. Paradoxically, this policy advises liberating the worst criminals in our country to make space in prisons and continue pursuing a policy that incarcerates the poor.
Our organizations reject this policy and repudiate this new attempt to favor those convicted of crimes against humanity.
Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo
Madres de Plaza de Mayo – Línea Fundadora
Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales
Familiares de Desaparecidos y Detenidos por Razones Políticas
Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos
Comisión Memoria, Verdad y Justicia de Zona Norte
Familiares y Compañeros de los 12 de la Santa Cruz
Fundación Memoria Histórica y Social Argentina
Liga Argentina por los Derechos del Hombre
Asociación Buena Memoria
Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos La Matanza