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  • Milagro Sala during  one of her court appearances.

    Milagro Sala during one of her court appearances. | Photo: EFE

Published 31 August 2017

Sala starts her video with the question "I ask: where is Santiago Maldonado?." 

The Argentine indigenous leader, Milagro Sala, has recorded a video in support of the search for the missing activist Santiago Maldonado.

Maldonado was last seen on August 1 at an Indigenous Mapuche protest in the southern province of Chubut which was suppressed by the police.

His family believe he was abducted by force.

Sala starts her video with the question "I ask: where is Santiago Maldonado?." 

She then calls for the government's urgent help to find him.

She is holding a photograph of Maldonado as she speaks.

The video is being rapidly shared on social networks as efforts to find the missing campaigner intensify.

Interpol has quashed earlier rumors that Maldonado's body had been found in Chile.

The agency issued a statement to counter the reports.

Politica Argentina
Politica Argentina

Sala recorded the film at her new residence where she has been placed under house arrest.

The leader of the Tupac Amaru neighborhood association was transferred from the High Comedero Women's prison on Thursday.

The residence is located in El Carmen in Jujuy province

Judge Gaston Mercau ordered the move earlier this month. Her defense team had called for her immediate transfer after supporters refurbished the home where she is due to serve the rest of her sentence.

Chomsky, Assange, Rousseff Among 200 Prominent People Calling For Release of Milagro Sala

In accordance with Mercau's decision, Sala must now wear an electronic ankle bracelet and will continue to be under supervision.

As head of the neighborhood association, part of the Association of State Workers of Jujuy, she won a seat in 2015 in the regional parliament of the Mercosur trade group of South American nations, Parlasur.

She was arrested on January16, 2016, after being accused of "inciting criminal acts" linked to a protest she led against authorities.

The Jujuy provincial government in northern Argentina then broadened the charges, alleging her movement had "embezzled public funds" meant for the construction of housing for low-income people.

Sala has denied any wrongdoing.

Last year, the United Nations demanded her release, describing her incarceration as "arbitrary."

Sala says she was subjected to torture during her imprisonment and received death threats.

She claims that her detention was founded on racism against Indigenous peoples and added that the Argentine corporate media has systematically censored the struggle of her people and her message.

Her release comes after an intense national and international campaign to secure her freedom. The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, Amnesty International and more than 200 prominent activists, politicians, intellectuals, and others — including former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Pope Francis and the linguist Noam Chomsky— had called for her release.

Sala was pivotal in building the Tupac Amaru neighborhood association from the ground up. The organization has helped hundreds of young people with a criminal past by placing them in social work opportunities and provided housing networks for the dispossessed.

It is now active in 15 of Argentina's 23 provinces and has some 150,000 affiliates.

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