Eleven Ley Bases protestors released, five who remain in prison indicted

The judge said that charges against the 28 freed protestors have not been dropped and that the investigation is still ongoing

Eleven protesters who were arrested last Wednesday while President Javier Milei’s Ley Bases bill was being discussed in Congress were released on Tuesday night. The five people remaining in jail out of the original 33 who were arrested were indicted by judge María Servini. 

The judge’s decision came after families and friends of the detainees called for their release on Tuesday in Plaza de Mayo along with social movement members and non-affiliated civilians.

In her ruling, Servini determined a “lack of merit” for the 28 who have so far been released. This means that there is not enough evidence to indict them or drop the charges. The legal deadline to define their situation is usually stipulated at 10 days. After that, charges are automatically dropped if no new clear evidence is found against them.

The five people who remain in custody are now being held in pre-trial detention at the Ezeiza Federal Prison and the judicial detention center known as Unit 28° in Buenos Aires, according to Servini’s ruling. In addition, the judge froze their assets by AR$500.000 (US$541 at the official rate, US$400 at the MEP rate).

Seventeen detainees had already been released last Friday.

The charges of the indictment

David Sica, Cristián Fernando Valiente, Roberto María de la Cruz Gómez and Facundo Ezequiel Gómez remain in prison, charged with “public intimidation” and attacking police officers. Patricia Calarco Arredondo is being charged with arson for allegedly setting on fire a set of public-use bicycles owned by the Buenos Aires city government.

In her ruling, Servini said she has security camera footage, videos, and police officers’ testimonies that back her decision to keep them imprisoned. Her court has analyzed around 100 hours of footage from the protest. 

The government has accused the detainees of “trying to carry out a coup.”

“They are not detained for political reasons; they are criminals who were committing crimes,” said Milei during an interview with TN news channel on Tuesday night. “They all have to be locked up for committing crimes.”

You may also be interested in: ‘It was a literal hunt’: Argentines march demanding release of imprisoned protesters

Cover photo: Ella Fernández @ella_____fdez

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