Six years and four months after her detention, the International Network for the Freedom of Milagro Sala calls on the Argentinean President to release her and “other people arbitrarily detained in Jujuy”. The full text of the letter follows.
16 May 2022
Dr. Alberto Fernández
President of the Argentine Republic
Six years and four months after her detention, we demand the freedom of Milagro Sala and other persons arbitrarily detained in Jujuy.
The International Network for the Freedom of Milagro Sala, made up of citizens from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Spain, United States, Finland, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland, presents itself to request, once again, your intervention to guarantee the immediate freedom of Milagro Sala, Patricia Cabana (Pachila), Iván Altamirano, Javier Nievas, Cacho Sibila, Andrea Condori, María Condori and Graciela López.
As of today, Milagro Sala has been arbitrarily detained for six years and four months.
Mr. President, on more than one occasion you have stated that Milagro Sala’s situation was a matter for the judiciary. Commendable recognition of the division of powers enshrined in the National Constitution. However, in the province of Jujuy such division of powers does not exist and the National Supreme Court silences, and thus protects, the legal arbitrariness committed in that province.
You are aware that Governor Morales, newly installed in his first term, increased the number of judges on the Provincial Supreme Court from five to nine; immediately appointing two of his deputies to that court, thereby obtaining a majority on the court that would follow his instructions.
It is also your knowledge that two successive presidents of the same Supreme Court had to resign when it became public knowledge of their views that Milagro Sala was detained so that Governor Morales could govern and was not released at the governor’s will. To replace one of the resigning judges, Governor Morales appointed his minister of security, the same one who had personally directed the detention of Milagro Sala, as a judge of the Supreme Court; leaving aside all pretence of impartiality in the highest provincial court.
We should add the creation of the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the same time as the increase in the number of Supreme Court judges. The new attorney general immediately ordered a prosecutor to take charge of all legal proceedings, present and future, against Milagro Sala and the network of social organisations. In addition, there were appointments of judges with exclusive mandate in the persecution of the social leader, violating all protection of the principle of the natural judge.
At this moment we are experiencing the decision of Governor Morales to recreate the Supreme Court according to his future plans. In just a few months the governor has reached alliances and agreements to remove six of the nine members of the court, including judges appointed by himself.
In short, since the inauguration of Governor Gerardo Morales there has been no independence of the judiciary in the province of Jujuy.
To this series of irregularities in the functioning of the judiciary in the province of Jujuy we must add the silence of the Supreme Court in cases in which the accused is Milagro Sala and which are for the court’s consideration. This silence is a way of consenting to and protecting political control over the judiciary, effectively disregarding the much-vaunted division of powers.
As we do every month, on the anniversary of the arbitrary detention of Milagro Sala, we are writing to you to request your intervention. We believe there is ample evidence that the judiciary in the province of Jujuy is not the independent institution that you proclaim it to be. You cannot continue to hide behind a legal fallacy but must use the tools at your disposal to obtain the immediate and definitive release of Milagro Sala and the other people detained in Jujuy.
For our part, we will continue to demand that you take the appropriate actions that will lead to the immediate and definitive release of Milagro Sala and the other persons detained in Jujuy.
International Network for the Freedom of Milagro Sala, Toronto