BUENOS AIRES – A delegation from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights entered a prison in northern Argentina on Friday to meet with an opposition activist who has been held in pre-trail detention since January 2016.
Milagro Sala, an indigenous woman who is a member of the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur) parliament, was initially arrested during a protest and subsequently charged with mismanaging funds from a government grant.
The delegation from the rights commission, a body of the Organization of American States, traveled to the northern province of Jujuy at the invitation of the Argentine and provincial governments.
The OAS panel is weighing a formal request to Argentina for Sala’s release.
A number of Argentine and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, consider Sala a political prisoner and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has demanded her release.
Besides visiting Sala in prison, rights commission chair Francisco Jose Eguiguren and commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño met with Jujuy Gov. Gerardo Morales.
Sala, as a leader of the social organization Tupac Amaru, had a role in administering a grant from Argentina’s previous center-left government to build low-income housing in Jujuy, one of the country’s poorest provinces.
She was detained on Jan. 16, 2016, during a protest against Gov. Morales, a political ally of conservative President Mauricio Macri.
Prosecutors later accused Sala, 53, of mishandling the grant money and she has remained behind bars for 18 months.