BUENOS AIRES – An Argentine court granted house arrest Wednesday to political activist Milagro Sala, who has spent more than 19 months behind bars on suspicion of mishandling public funds.
The tribunal in the northern province of Jujuy authorized the house arrest in response to a request from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a body of the Organization of American States.
Sala, an indigenous woman, is a member of the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur) parliament and a leader of the social organization Tupac Amaru.
Following news of the court decision, groups supporting the activist went on social media to point out that Sala’s home was virtually destroyed at the time of her arrest in January 2016.
The Inter-American Commission issued a statement July 28 urging the Argentine government to find an alternative to keeping Sala in jail.
Sala, in her work with Tupac Amaru, had a role in administering a grant from Argentina’s previous center-left government to build low-income housing in impoverished Jujuy.
She was detained during a protest against provincial Gov. Gerardo Morales, a political ally of Argentina’s current presidential, conservative Mauricio Macri.
Prosecutors later accused Sala, 53, of mishandling the grant money.
Early last month, more than 200 international notables published an open letter to the Argentine government requesting the release of Sala.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Brazilian former President Dilma Rousseff and US linguist Noam Chomsky were among the signatories.
Organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also urged Argentina to free Sala.