Milagro Sala Begins a Hunger Strike after Sudden and Arbitrary Prison Transfer

August 8, 2018

Renowned leader of the Túpac Amaru Community Organization in Jujuy, Milagro Salas, who was convicted on made up embezzlement charges has suddenly been transferred to a Federal Prison in Guemes in the State of Salta Argentina for no reason other than to add a level of punishment to her sentence. Since December 2017, after an international campaign and the approval of the Supreme Court, Salas had been under house arrest.

Salas’s real crime is building a strong grassroots network of indigenous and peasants and implementing housing and social programs to Jujuy’s most impoverished communities.

Immediately upon her transfer Sala began a total hunger strike without even water.

At the same time, her legal defense presented a habeas corpus in which they demanded that the Supreme Court of Justice comply with the ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) that issued the house arrest for the leader.

The Center of Legal and Social Studies (CELS), Human Rights and Social Studies Attorneys of the Argentinian Northwest and Amnesty International of Argentina filed a complaint before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for “flagrant non-compliance with the provisional measures ordered” by that body and ratified by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.

The presentation made by Sala’s defense before the Supreme Court points out that the decision of Judge Pablo Pullen Llermanos, “makes the Argentinian State incur international responsibility, insofar as it implies non-compliance with resolutions that are binding.” In other words what violation did Salas make to be pulled away from her house, support and family to be locked Federal Prison in another province?

“The rejection of this presentation would imply leaving the fate of Milagro Sala’s health to luck, in the face of an extremely serious situation of urgency that has been largely caused, as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) itself has expressed, by the courts before which habeas corpus should be filed under normal conditions of legality,” warned the defense lawyers of the Tupac Amarú’s leader.

Gastón Chillier, representing CELS (Center of Legal and Social Studies); Ana Laura Lobo Stegmayer, representing Human Rights and Social Studies Attorneys of the Argentinian Northwest; and Mariela Belski, executive director of Amnesty International of Argentina, told the IACHR that the transfer of Sala, who was serving a house arrest in the neighborhood of El Carmen de Jujuy, took place “in an untimely manner, without any prior notice to her or her defense, at the end of a trial hearing in which she was accused”.

In this way, after leaving the court, she was directly approached by the troops who were already there to comply with the judicial order, to place her right there, without further ado, inside the transfer truck on her way to the federal prison.

Source: Perfil, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau