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  • Hundreds of people participated in a demonstration to demand the release of Milagro Sala Wednesday 17 February 2016.

    Hundreds of people participated in a demonstration to demand the release of Milagro Sala Wednesday 17 February 2016. | Photo: EFE

Indigenous leader and lawmaker Milagro Sala, was voted into office in 2013 so legally she cannot be detained for her activism, the body said.

The ongoing detention of Milagro Sala, an Indigenous lawmaker and activist, is illegal, according to an official report by Argentina's Office of Institutional Violence (Procuvin). 

“Our verdict says Milagro Sala is illegally detained, and that the two judges and the prosecutor who participated in this process have committed crimes under the penal code, on the basis that Milagro Sala has [parliamentary] privileges,” said Miguel Palazzani, director of Procuvin, a special government body created to monitor the state use of torture, abuse of power and other forms of institutional violence.  

“What the judges should have done, if they were considering that they needed to detain her, is to declare the article that gives [parliamentary] privileges unconstitutional or start a process of impeachment, things they did not do,” said Palazzani after the institution's report was released over the weekend. 

Sala is a well-known Indigenous leader and founder of the 70,000 member Tupac Amaru organization. She is also a member of parliament in the province of Jujuy.

She was arrested on Jan. 16 on charges of inciting violence after organizing and protesting in a month-long sit-in against Jujuy Gov. Gerardo Morales, who ordered her arrest. 

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Supporters have been demanding her release and taking to the streets in protest. Her family says her arrest was a result of race and gender discrimination

By continuing to detain Sala, the government, "according to Procuvin's criteria, continues to commit a crime," said Palazzani.

Procuvin opened an investigation into Sala's imprisonment after a committee from Mercosur, a South American trade bloc, denounced her arrest and the actions of judges and prosecutors working on the case.  

The Mercosur complainants argued that Sala's arrest is an “illegal deprivation of liberty and aggravated breach of trust,” adding that it violates Argentina's constitution, international treaties, and the country's criminal and penal codes, since Sala is protected by parliamentary immunity. 

WATCH: Milagro Sala, Political Prisoner?

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