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People power: Argentina blocks early release for human rights criminals

People power: Argentina blocks early release for human rights criminals
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By Euronews
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Under pressure from the street, Congress stopped a ruling from applying to dictatorship-era human rights offenders.

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Tens of thousands rallied in Argentina on Wednesday against a Supreme Court ruling that could have allowed the early release of those jailed for human rights crimes during the military dictatorship.

White headscarves were worn by some in Buenos Aires – a symbol of the iconic protests by the mothers and grandmothers of people who disappeared during the so-called Dirty War.

“Judges: Never again. No free genocidists,” read banners in the Plaza de Mayo.

Rallying cry: Argentina blocks early release of people convicted of human rights crimes during military dictatorship https://t.co/BMMzQC3NWgpic.twitter.com/c9LPFUFLpw

— AFP news agency (@AFP) 11 mai 2017

And the people’s voice was heard.

The same day, Congress ultimately decided that the Supreme Court ruling should not apply to those behind bars for killings, torture, kidnappings and other human rights violations during the dictatorship from the mid 1970s to 1983.

That decision was welcomed by Argentina’s president Mauricio Macri.

“I would like to congratulate Congress for the speed at which it has resolved the legal vacuum left by this unfortunate “two for one” law,” he said in a press conference.

“I was always against it because I am against any tool that favours impunity – more so when this tool is applied to crimes against humanity.”

The Supreme Court’s May 3 decision ruled in favour of Luis Muiña, who was sentenced in 2011 to 13 years in jail for kidnapping and torturing five people during the dictatorship.

Congress has now limited the application of the law, known locally as “two for one”, which allows each day spent in jail before a final sentence to count for two days when more than two years have been served.

Rollercoaster afternoon as impassioned Argentinean MPs vote down lower penalties for dictatorship-era leaders https://t.co/Zqa7Kis1k3

— El País in English (@elpaisinenglish) 10 mai 2017

with Reuters

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