Argentine activist Milagro Sala will be released and transferred as part of her house arrest to a sacked and abandoned house without windows or furniture, instead of her own home, her lawyers have denounced.
Elizabeth Gomez, who heads Milagro's defense team, rejected the decision by the court to sentence her to detention in the building, which is located 24 miles away from San Salvador de Jujuy.
“It's an obvious demonstration that what they want to do is continue to harass her, humiliate her, telling her 'you're going from Alto Comedero to a house where you can't even wash your hands,’” Gomez said, as Milagro's defense team awaits her scheduled Thursday release.
Gomez said the building, which was reportedly built as a drug rehabilitation center, is in poor condition and claims it was vandalized during Milagro’s 18-month-long detention. She also said it has no toilets, windows or electricity.
Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales, who Sala accused of being the mastermind behind her arrest, said he disagreed with the decision and alleged that the activist would serve house arrest under better conditions.
Sala was arrested on Jan. 16, 2016, after being accused of “inciting criminal acts” linked to a protest she led against authorities, including Morales.
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.
Luis Paz, also a lawyer in Sala's team, said her release hasn't been finalized because they still need clearance from a second judge, Pablo Pullen, and a new inspection of her house.
Paz also criticized the fact that Milagro is still in prison even after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, IACHR, asked for a resolution to her situation by Aug. 11.
“Even if she has to sleep in a tent, we are going to comply with that judicial decision since we have been arguing that there is a risk to her life and her physical integrity,” Gomez said.
“It will have no light, it will not have water, but we know what Milagro is made of, they will not frighten us or her.”
As head of Argentina's Tupac Amaru Neighborhood Association and the Association of State Workers of Jujuy, Sala won a seat in 2015 in Parlasur, the parliamentary institution of the Mercosur trade bloc.
Last year, the United Nations demanded that the Argentine government release Sala, while the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention described her incarceration as “arbitrary.”