International statement for the absolution of César Arakaki and Daniel Ruiz

Militants convicted in Argentina for mobilizing against a reactionary pension reform.

On Monday, November 8, a ruling by Judge Ariel Ríos sentenced comrades César Arakaki and Daniel Ruiz (members of the Partido Obrero and the PSTU, respectively) to three years and four months in effective prison, and three years in effective prison, respectively, within the framework of the case that was opened to them for their participation in the massive mobilization on December 18, 2017, in front of the National Congress, against the pension reform that was approved that day in the Chamber of Deputies. Mobilization strongly repressed with dozens of seriously injured (lost eyes, etc.) and detained.

This reform, promoted by Mauricio Macri’s government (PRO-Cambiemos), and approved with the support of congressmen from the Partido Justicialista, modified the calculation of salaries to the detriment of retirees. It was part of a pack of measures against the working class, which also included a labor reform to make working conditions even more flexible, and which finally had to be shelved, precisely due to the gigantic mobilization in December that brought together hundreds of thousands of people.

To divert attention from the embezzlement that took place on December 18th, a fierce campaign of demonization was developed by the media, identifying some of the comrades who had participated in the mobilization, with images and videos that showed them resisting the police repression. Days later, the arrests and judicial persecution began.

The ruling is a clear attack from the entire regime on the right to protest and is intended to educate all those who fight. Patricia Bullrich, former minister of security and current head of PRO, Macri’s party, made it clear in a tweet saying: “I hope this sentence is exemplary. Demonstrations without reason only stagnate the country”.

The judge followed exactly the entire script of the prosecution, which accused them of alleged «public intimidation», «attack against authority» and «injuries in aggression.» The judicial fury is so clear that the conviction occurred despite the fact that the complaint of officer Brian Escobar, who was injured during the protesters’ repression, abandoned the trial because the defense of Arakaki and Ruiz managed to verify that his injuries had not been caused by our comrades.

This embarrassing ruling will be appealed, and we will redouble the national and international campaign for acquittal. We request the signing of this statement and the sending of petitions to the embassies.

For the absolution of César Arakaki and Daniel Ruiz.

For the freedom and deprocessing of prisoners for fighting.

For the right to protest.