Milagro Sala speaking with CIDH officials in her room. (Photo from CIDH)

Milagro Sala, leader of the Kirchner-aligned Tupac Amaru organization, may soon have one more tool in her arsenal to use in advocating for her release from Alto Comedoro prison in Jujuy. Last Friday, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) urged the Argentine government to reconsider “methods alternative to preventive detention,” such as house arrest or “freedom under controlled measures like electronic monitoring.”

Sala was arrested in January 2016 for nonviolently protesting funding cuts in front of the House of Government in Jujuy. Since then, the government has detained her while it investigates charges of “illicit association, fraud and extortion.” Supporters deem her a political prisoner, as Governor Gerardo Morales of Jujuy, who formally accused Sala, belongs to the Cambiemos alliance.

In the past, it was Sala who refused house arrest, saying, “Domiciliary prisons are for genocidal people, which I am not.” But health problems make her current situation unsustainable. Last week, the CIDH affirmed that house arrest is necessary to “guarantee her life and personal integrity,” while echoing previous UN statements that Sala’s detention is arbitrary overall. “The harassment due to excessive vigilance, disciplinary processes [and] a multitude of judicial processes has created a state of distress that affects her mental and moral integrity,” said Franciscio Eguiguren, president of the CIDH in Argentina. “The commission therefore concludes that her permanent presence in prison puts her life in severe danger.”

The Argentine State has fifteen days to comply with the resolution. Though Governor Morales disagrees with CIDH recommendations, he has clarified his commitment to guarantee protection for Mrs. Sala. The decision is in his hands.