Free at last: Court rules zoo is unlawfully depriving orangutan of its freedom

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – An orangutan held in a zoo can now be freed and transferred to a sanctuary following a court’s decision on Monday.

Animal rights campaigners filed a habeas corpus petition, which is usually used to challenge the legality of a person’s imprisonment, on behalf of Sandra.

Sandra is a 29-year-old orangutan who has been held at the Buenos Aires Zoo for the past 20 years.

Activists argued the ape has sufficient cognitive functions and should not be treated as an object.

The court agreed that Sandra deserves basic rights of a “non-human person.”

The Buenos Aires Zoo has 10 working days to appeal the ruling.

The landmark decision could pave way for similar lawsuits.

A court in the United States tossed out a similar bid for the freedom of a privately owned chimpanzee, ruling the chimp was not a “person,” so it did not have the rights and protections afforded by habeas corpus.

Sandra was born into captivity in Germany before being transferred to Argentina 20 years ago.

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