Activist Linked to Cristina Kirchner Imprisoned on Corruption Charges
A court in the province of Jujuy in northern Argentina has sentenced social activist Milagro Sala to three years probation, but she must remain in custody for other corruption allegations.
A federal court found the leader of the organization Tupac Amaru guilty of causing damage in a protest in 2009 against then-senator and current governor of Jujuy, Gerardo Morales. The court found her responsible for the crime of aggravated harm as an instigator. In a related case, the same court acquitted her on the charge of making criminal threats.
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“For crimes of this nature, the law establishes a sentence such as this, not exceeding three years, subject to certain measures or guidelines of conduct that the court establishes,” said federal prosecutor Federico Zurueta in statements recorded by Reuters.
The case of Milagro Sala has been under the microscope of international human rights organizations that have asked for her immediate release. The United Nations (UN), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch (HRW), among others, consider that her pretrial detention since January of this year is arbitrary and violates the standards of international civil and political law.
Sala, who is also a deputy of Cristina Kirchner‘s party in the Parlasur (Mercosur parliament), was arrested on January 16, 2016 following a charge related to property damages in the protest against Morales. Several days later she was released, but she was subsequently arrested again for allegedly diverting AR $29 million (USD $1,809,600) that was destined for the construction of houses.
Argentine president Mauricio Macri has pointed out that this case is a matter of Jujuy’s judicial system, although he called attention to the crimes of which Sala is accused in that province. “Most of the Argentine people are in agreement that there were a number of significant crimes committed by Sala, which merit a full investigation. It is important that this information be shared with the world,” the President said at a news conference earlier this month.
Last week militants of the Tupac Amaru, Kirchner officials, and deputies clashed with police at the doors of the courthouse where the trial was being held.
“I feel a lot of internal pain for the injustice we are living because we have not stolen anything. We have worked, we have given dignity to thousands of people,” Sala said in her statement before Wednesday’s verdict. “That was our sin,” she said.