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ARGENTINA | 21-12-2023 14:58

Anti-picket protocol: Judge rules in favour of Argentina's government

Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, author of government's new anti-picket protocol, celebrates court ruling on social media.

Magistrate Gustavo Pierretti late Tuesday rejected a habeas corpus writ presented the same day groups opposing Security Minister Patricia Bullrich anti-picket protest protocol.

The legal challenge, presented by the Partido Obrero, the Servicio Paz y Justicia (SERPAJ) of 1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and representatives from the CELS (Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales) human rights organisations, had called for the new security protocol to be quashed "immediately.” 

The three presentations were rejected as "lacking any of the premises contemplated" in Law 23,098 governing Habeas Corpus procedure.

Article 3 establishes that "habeas corpus procedure will apply when an action or omission of public authority is denounced implying the limitation of or threat to the freedom of movement without a written order from the competent authority or the illegitimate aggravation of the conditions of the deprivation of freedom without detriment to the prerogatives of the judge in charge of the trial if there is one."

In her social media accounts, Security Minister Patricia Bullrich celebrated the decision.

“The courts have decided – the protocol for the maintenance of public order is completely legal. Only those who are ignorant of the law and live outside it could think the contrary,” wrote the minister in her X (former Twitter) account together with an image of the ruling. 

The protocol was put to the test the following day by a demonstration staged by social and political organisations between Congress and Plaza de Mayo on the 22nd anniversary of the events of December 19 and 20, 2001, that toppled the government of Fernando de la Rúa.

Deputy Néstor Pitrola of the leftist Frente de Izquierda Unidad (FIT-U) and Pérez Esquivel, together with leading members of human rights organisations, were the ones who lodged the case with the Juzgado Criminal y Correccional Court Number 13, alleging that the protocol affects "the freedom of movement and the physical integrity" of the demonstrators.

"The threats of the minister Bullrich place the state and her in the position of committing a crime. Those incurring in crime are not the unemployed workers who are witnessing the pulverisation of their earnings when social plans are frozen with one percent daily inflation," the deputy protested to Télam news agency.

The Partido Obrero leader underlined that "the protocol is illegal because it affects Article 14 of the Constitution and the right to protest, which is also constitutional," thus explaining their presentation since "the clauses of the questioned resolution illegally suspend rights protected by the National Constitution and international treaties with constitutional status."

The plaintiffs complained about the protocol: "It effectively resembles a state of emergency or siege without any of the preconditions justifying that."

Bullrich’s protocol upheld the capacity of the security forces to intervene preventively in situations flagrantly leading to commission of a crime.

Pierretti’s ruling does not pronounce on whether the protocol is valid or not but rejects the procedure chosen by Pérez Esquivel, Pitrola and the other plaintiffs to object to the warnings against Wednesday’s picket march.

As established by procedure, once the habeas corpus was rejected, the file was immediately sent to the Criminal Appeals Court for review.

 

– TIMES/NA
 

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