International Feminist Action mobilizes for release of women activists unjustly imprisoned across the globe

The campaign highlights the work and trials of Milagro Sala (Argentina), Sudha Bahrdwaj (India), Gültan Kışanak (Turkey), Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal (US) and Khalida Jarrar and Khitam Saafin (Palestine) and demands their immediate release

March 12, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Photo : ALBA Movement

On March 12, the Social Movements of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) organized an international action for the liberation of women activists from across the globe who have been imprisoned in their respective countries for their anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist political activities.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions the campaign was mostly carried out online. It was divided into three basic actions; the publication of videos and photos on social media of these activists with the hashtag #LibresLasQueremos (We want them free, in Spanish), tagging the Twitter and Instagram accounts of the embassies of the countries where these activists are imprisoned with the slogan, “We will continue to stand vigil and fight until they are all free.” Apart from these social media activities, the campaign also involved writing letters to all embassies and consulates of the countries where these activists are imprisoned asking for their immediate release. Gatherings in certain venues were also organized.

The objective of the campaign is to highlight the contributions made by these women in the fight against imperialism and also highlight the oppressive and unjust acts of the state. The mobilization is a part of the Feminist Struggle Week in Our America.      

Some of the activists whose work was highlighted are Milagro Sala from Argentina, the leader of indigenous Tupac Amaru Neighborhood Organization. She has been deprived of her liberty for the last five years without any clear charge. Sudha Bhardwaj from India who is a human rights activist and lawyer was also highlighted. Sudha also works among the indigenous and working-class people and has been in jail for almost three years now without trial.

Two Palestinian activists, Khalida Jarrar and Khitam Saafin, members of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Palestinian Women’s Union Committees, imprisoned by the occupying Israeli forces for their activism against the occupation and for the liberation of Palestine are part of the campaign.

Social movements in Latin America also spoke out against the unjust conviction of the leader of Party of Peace and Democracy (HDP) in Turkey, Gültan Kışanak, who was arrested in February 2019 on false charges and sentenced later to 14 years imprisonment for her alleged membership of a “terrorist organization” for her vocal opposition to the persecution of Kurdish minorities and violations of the workers’ rights. The detention of Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal who is kept in a Federal detention center in the US and accused of setting two police vehicles on fire during her participation in the Black Lives Matters movement in May 2020 was highlighted.