A criminal judge in the Argentine city of Rosario Thursday decided to uphold the prosecution's request to charge Doctors for the Truth leader Mariano Arriaga for instigation to commit crimes, it was announced.
Judge María Trinidad Chiabera arraigned Mariano Arriaga for publicly inciting and inducing a group of people to gather around the city's iconic Flag Monument at a time when gatherings are banned by a presidential emergency decree as an anticoronavirus measure.
Arriaga was charged together with a councilman from a small town in the province of Chaco and with another doctor for calling for an antiquarantine meeting during which demonstrators were subject to police brutality and fired rubber bullets at.
The defendants were released on bail Thursday. But they were imposed additional restrictions by the magistrate such as a ban from leaving the country and from approaching those who filed the judicial complaint, including Rosario councilwoman Norma López who received death threats through social media.
The three defendants were arrested while they were holding a meeting of about 200 maskless people during which they questioned the scientific approach by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the national governments at the coronavirus pandemic.
While some of their arguments may be plausible, some members of these “negationist” group have links with antisemitism and ultra-nationalist movements which might capitalize on disagreements which at first appear to be only about medical viewpoints.
Arriaga harangued his followers by telling them that your search begins and can end in a second, the Pacha, the Earth and the sky are waiting for you.
Prosecutor Marcelo Vienna filed charges against Arriaga, Las Breñas Councilman Juan Domingo Schanovskoy and Doctor José Luis Gettor for instigation to commit crimes by “inciting and publicly inducing through the diffusion through different social networks of public access” in violation of national and provincial decrees that prohibit social encounters to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
For this, he exhibited as evidence a video uploaded to an Instagram account in which the organizers, gathered in a house in Rosario, made the call. The prosecutor also accused Arriaga and Councilman Schanovskoy of having breached the ban on holding meetings in private settings, by recording the video in a house with about 20 people.
Arriaga was also accused of leading a meeting of about 100 people last Monday in another public park in Rosario, for one that he held over the weekend in the city of San Lorenzo, and for the crime of damage by kicking a police motorbike of the personnel who went to stop him.
Although the prosecutor requested preventive detention for Arriaga for two years, Judge Chiabrera understood that the risks of hindering the investigation could be mitigated and ordered Arrriaga's release on bail and banned him from calling for marches by any means for as long as the current sanitary measures are in force.