Statement from the Bar Association of the Republic of Argentina Denouncing Illegal and Persecutory Accusations against Journalist Carlos Aznárez

December 14, 2015

images (5)Frequently, we take part in contraventional and penal processes that are plagued with causes for nullity and arbitrariness in all jurisdictions of Argentina. But we often see this in Contraventional processes in Buenos Aires. This includes the process against Carlos Aznárez for participating in an act of solidarity with the Palestinian People and a repudiation against massacres that the State of Israel committed against defenseless civilians on August 27, 2014.

Carlos Aznárez, director of the well-known journal Resumen Latinoamericano, and Rubén Saboulard, leader of the People’s Assemblies, are accused of taking the stage, among many others, to talk about these events, in what is being labeled as “declarations discriminatory against the Jewish religion”. Neither Carlos nor his technical defense, which this Bar Association is leading, were informed about this case through the mandatory channels, established by due process.

After receiving a complaint from the Delegation of Israeli Associations of Argentina, DAIA, the prosecutor initiated an investigation without notifying Aznárez, so that he could prepare his defense. Furthermore, the Prosecutor did not go to the judge that is required in such measures. The process was therefore carried out only by the Public Prosecutor’s Office alone, affecting the fundamental rights of Carlos Aznárez.

A request was sent to the e-mail provider of Aznarez to release all contents of his private correspondence used in his publication, Resumen Latinoamericano. This measure violated his right to privacy of his correspondence and freedom of speech among other things.

The e-mail provider informed the journal that ‘an Argentine Prosecutor’ intended to intrude into his private e-mails ‘without order of a competent judge’. It was then that Carlos Aznárez and the other victims of this process became aware of this issue.

All of this was carried out without a Judge and without a Defender, just the Prosecutor. And now he intends to be the one before whom Aznárez must stand in front of without a judge.

It is because of this that the Bar Association went to the natural judge of this case and denounced the human rights violations that are being committed and required that the judge would be the one to set the date for the investigative declaration.

We presented the documents where we argued the unconstitutionality of the rule that allows a Prosecutor to interrogate the person that he is investigating. Above the jurisdiction of the Contraventional Code of the City is the Argentine Constitution.

Dictated in all international treaties on human rights, any process in which human rights of any kind are at stake, three parts have to be present at ALL times; the Accuser/Prosecutor, the Defendant/Defender and an impartial and independent Judge.

Therefore, it is unconstitutional and against all legal standards that the same person that investigates Aznárez will be the one who interrogates him. The prosecutor is not impartial, he is the procedural adversary of the person he will investigate. The competent party who has to listen to what Carlos has to say can only be a Judge, who is competent and impartial, and has no personal interest in the penal process as the Prosecutor does.

This issue, rooted in the Constitution and standards of principle, is not a scheme to ‘gain time’. Our position is a matter of ideology, of due process, of principles: a Prosecutor can never take the place of a Judge.

If we really get to the heart of the matter, the accusation against Carlos and Ruben lacks any kind of factual and juridical basis. The declarations they made in the public event are in line with many thousands of others who express their solidarity with the Palestinian People around the world. Never in the event, or in declarations made, were there discriminatory implications, and there is no proof that indicates otherwise. On the contrary, statements were in line with the opinions that as people we have the right to express our beliefs.

Under the guise of investigating Carlos Aznárez, they intend to violate the right to Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press.

It is worth mentioning that at the event many Jewish people showed their support, along with many others, including Jewish personalities from Argentina and around the world, who have signed in support of Carlos Aznárez.

At stake here are human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to access information, to due process, to an impartial judge, in order to defend oneself.  Carlos Aznárez and Ruben Saboulard are the ones being attacked at this time but this issue affects all of us.

We ask colleagues of different organizations, who know these manipulations well because they too have suffered from them, to close ranks on this subject. We call on Human Rights organizations and anti-repressive organizations to support this claim. The process against Carlos Aznárez and Rubén Saboulard shows the attempt to strengthen and consolidate a way of by- passing justice. We must stop it.

Bar Association of Lawyers of the Republic of Argentina

December, 2015