Urgent Interventions

Argentina: disappearances and mass arrests of demonstrators

Case ARG 270902 / 270902.ESCR
Disappearances / Excessive use of police force against demonstrators / Numerous arbitrary arrests

The International Secretariat of the OMCT requests your urgent intervention in the following situation:

Brief description of the situation:

The International Secretariat of the OMCT expresses its serious concern over the supposed disappearance of 7 persons and over the arrest and detention of around 180 other persons, following the recent confrontations between the forces of order and the demonstrators known as “picketers” in San Salvador de Jujuy, capital of the Jujuy province of Argentina.

According to information from reliable sources, 7 people (Ms. Laura Borja, Ms. Inés Carpachi, Mr. César Jerónimo, Ms. Estela Gómez, Mr. Pablo Gómez, Mr. Franco Hilario and Ms. Claudia Rodriguez) who were at the scene of a picketers’ demonstration on 20 September 2002 have reportedly disappeared, as their families state that they have not returned home since this date. The reports add that the Jujuy authorities have not confirmed their detention, but witnesses confirm that these people were detained by the police.

On 20 September this year, a peaceful march was organised in the capital of the Jujuy department, in parallel to the one held in Buenos Aires on the same day. The reports add that when the march had ended, a confrontation occurred between the demonstrators and the police, who used tear gas and rubber bullets against the participants. These confrontations resulted in the windows of cars, of various shops and businesses and of the house belonging to the National Deputy Miguel Guibergia being broken.

According to the information, following these disturbances, the police forcibly entered housing in neighbourhoods mainly occupied by the unemployed, and made dozens of arrests. Later, the judge Mario Juárez Almarez decided to apply the article 213bis of the Penal Code, under which the detainees were charged with robbery, serious damage to property, instigation to commit crime, public intimidation and bodily harm. The source indicates that these charges do not permit their release from prison. The Governor of Jujuy, Eduardo Fellner, stated that he would “respect the decision of the judge” in an interview with deputies Marcela Bordenave, Lucrecia Monteagudo and Patricia Walsh, who travelled to Jujuy to demand the detainees’ release.

The reports also say that a group made up of demonstration participants and the detainees’ relatives met in front of the police squad premises to demand their release, and claim that these people, as well as a university professor, Mr. José María Galli, who had gone to the police station to demand information on the detainees, were also detained. The reports add that officials were very reticent to make known the list of detainees’ names. Certain reports affirm that at first a list naming 109 persons was handed out, later one with 115 names and another with 120; only on Saturday night was a list containing 179 names made available. This information however remains to be confirmed. According to the reports, among the detained were 30 children under the age of 18, and about 40 women, some of whom are pregnant.

The International Secretariat of the OMCT is seriously concerned about the disappearances of the afore-mentioned people and fears that they may be subjected to ill treatment or torture. OMCT is equally concerned for the life and for the physical and psychological integrity of the detainees, and in general for the safety of the unemployed population and the demonstrators in Jujuy and in Argentina as a whole.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in Argentina urging them to:

i. undertake immediately all action necessary to locate the missing persons;
ii. provide adequate medical attention for those wounded in the incidents described above;
iii. guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the detainees involved in the aforementioned events;
iv. order the immediate release of the afore-mentioned detainees in the absence of valid legal charges, or if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times;
v. order a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of these events and guarantee that those responsible are brought to trial and that the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions are applied as provided by law;
vi. guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country, in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards, particularly the International Pact for Economic, Social and Cultural rights, ratified by Argentina.


· Dr. Eduardo Duhalde, Presidente de la Nación, Casa Rosada, Balcarce 50, 1064 Buenos Aires, Fax: (+ 54 11) 43 44 38 00 . e-mail:
· Dr. Oscar Fappiano, Sr. Subsecretario de Derechos Humanos, Ministerio de Justicia, Seguridad y Derechos Humanos, Fax: (+ 54 11) 43 81 45 71 (puede resultar difícil establecer comunicación con este número. Si responde una voz, digan: "Fax, por favor")
· Sr. Jorge Rubén Matzkin, Ministro del Interior, Balcarce 24 (1064) CAP. FED. Tel.: (+ 54 11) 433 1 45 71 / 6756 / 9951 - (+ 54 11) 4342 60 81. E-mail:
· Dr. Jorge Reinaldo Vanossi, Ministro de Justicia y Derechos Humanos ; Sarmiento 329 (1041) 5° piso - Cdad. Autónoma de Buenos Aires. Tel.: (+ 54 11) 4328-3015/9. Fax : (+ 54 11) 4328 53 95
· Dr. Julio S. Nazareno, Presidente de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación, Fax: (54 11) 4374 39 51; E-mail:
· Dr. Eduardo Mondito, Defensor del Pueblo de la Nacion, Argentina, Fax. (+5411) 4819 15 81 E-mail:
· Misión de la República Argentina ante las Naciones Unidas en Ginebra. Fax : (+ 41 22) 798 59 95

Please also write to the diplomatic representative of Argentina in your country.

Geneva, 27 September 2002

Kindly inform the OMCT of any action you have undertaken indicating the appeal code in your response.
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