December 22, 2014 3:13 pm
Updated: December 22, 2014 8:17 pm

Sandra the orangutan wins right to freedom


WATCH: Sandra the orangutan has been granted basic legal human rights from an Argentine court.

TORONTO – An Argentina court has ruled an orangutan has the same legal rights as a human, granting the ape freedom from a zoo where she has been living for 20 years.

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Sandra, a 29-year-old Sumatran orangutan, has lived her entire life in captivity but may soon be transferred to a sanctuary. According to Reuters, the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights (AFADA), successfully argued Sandra suffered “unjustified confinement of an animal with proven cognitive ability” while living at the Buenos Aires zoo.

In the landmark ruling, the court agreed Sandra was being illegally deprived of freedom as a “non-human person,” and that unless there is an appeal, she must be transferred to a primate sanctuary in Brazil.

“This opens the way not only for other Great Apes, but also for other sentient beings which are unfairly and arbitrarily deprived of their liberty in zoos, circuses, water parks and scientific laboratories,” Reuters quoted AFADA lawyer Paul Buompadre as saying to local media.

In November, the AFADA filed a “habeas corpus” on behalf of the ape. The petition is usually filed on behalf of a human, to review a person’s arrest and/or imprisonment.

According to the Reuters report, the Buenos Aires zoo has 10 business days to seek an appeal.

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