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Americas' top rights commission urges Argentina to free activist

by Reuters
Friday, 2 December 2016 23:49 GMT

Milagro Sala, who has been jailed since the beginning of the year, is the leader of the Tupac Amaru social movement

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 2 (Reuters) - The Inter-American Commision on Human Rights on Friday called on Argentina to release social activist Milagro Sala, who has been jailed since the beginning of the year in the northwestern province of Jujuy.

The commission, part of the Organization of American States (OAS), said Argentina should "give prompt attention" to recommendations from a U.N. body in October that called Sala's pre-trial detention "unwarranted and arbitrary."

Sala, the leader of the Tupac Amaru social movement, was detained in January and accused of instigating criminal acts after leading a protest in front of provincial government buildings. She is also being investigated for alleged fraud related to a low-income housing program led by Tupac Amaru.

OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro said on Tuesday that Sala's detention was not justified because there was no risk of flight or interfere with investigative processes.

Argentina's Foreign Ministry said in a statement the federal government had taken note of the position and invited members of the commission to visit Jujuy to meet the various actors in the Sala case.

Argentina is a member of the Washington-based OAS, the Western Hemisphere's main multilateral organization.

Joaquín Millón Quintana, the prosecutor in charge of Jujuy's anti-corruption office, defended Sala's jailing and said the U.N.'s recommendation was ill-informed.

"It was a complete ignorance of the case," he told Reuters.

Sala's husband, Tupac Amaru member Raul Noro, has called the accusations against her "political persecution." Noro and Sala are vocal supporters of former leftist President Cristina Fernandez.

Noro was arrested in July and has since been released along with three other group members. (Reporting by Juliana Castilla and Nicolas Misculin; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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