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Argentina: Drop Charges Against Three Social Media Users

Nahuel Morandini, Roque Villegas, and Lucía González face legal action merely for sharing their satirical views on a public figure online. Morandini and Villegas were detained for 54 days due to their posts on X and Facebook and are awaiting trial. González is charged over a remark she made within a private WhatsApp group. We are calling for the immediate dismissal of all charges against them.

Here’s what you can do:

Given the international obligations of the Argentine State to respect, protect and guarantee human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, write to the Public Prosecutor urging him to:

  • Drop the charges against Nahuel Morandini, Roque Villegas and Lucía González as these stems solely from their peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression.

Write to:

Public Prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Jujuy

Mr. Walter Rondón.

Email: wrondon@mpajujuy.gob.ar

Salutation: Dear Mr. Prosecutor:

And copy:

Her Excellency Maria Josefina Martinez Gramuglia


Embassy of the Argentine Republic

81 Metcalfe Street, 7th Floor

Ottawa, ON K1P 6K7

Tel: (613) 236-2351 Fax: (613) 235-2659

Email: ecana@cancilleria.gob.ar

Arrests and Charges Over Social Media Comments

On January 4, 2024, authorities in Jujuy Province arrested Nahuel Morandini, an engineer and teacher, following a complaint by Tulia Snopek, the wife of Jujuy’s former governor, Gerardo Morales. The issue arose from Morandini’s social media post on X (formerly Twitter) about an alleged affair involving a singer. Similarly, Roque Villegas, a 42-year-old silk-screen printer, was arrested for his related Facebook posts.

The charges against them include “aggravated psychological injuries due to gender violence” and “identity suppression” of Morales’ minor daughter, with potential prison sentences up to eight years. Both the Provincial Women’s Council and Morales are plaintiffs in this case.

Lucía González also faced legal trouble for a WhatsApp group comment on the matter. Although her arrest warrant was canceled by the court, the investigation continues, with a possible two to six-year imprisonment.

Human Rights Concerns and Freedom of Expression

The legal basis for these charges is Article 139, paragraph 2, of the National Penal Code, focusing on altering a minor’s identity. However, the defense argues that social media posts cannot alter a minor’s identity, especially since the posts did not mention the child’s identity. Moreover, the treatment of Morandini and Villegas in detention has led to allegations of inhumane conditions, prompting a complaint by the National Committee against Torture.

This case raises significant concerns about freedom of expression and the potential for a chilling effect on public discourse. Amnesty International has highlighted ongoing human rights issues in Jujuy, including violent police actions during protests in June 2023, arbitrary detentions, and a general reluctance among victims to report abuses due to fear of retaliation. This situation underscores the urgent need for scrutiny and action to protect human rights in the region.

Please take action as soon as possible until April 12, 2024! The UA will be duly updated should there be the need for further action.