Teen rape victim in El Salvador sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder after having a stillbirth

Teen rape victim in El Salvador sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder after having a stillbirthEvelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz, 19, from a small rural community in Cuscatlán, eastern El Salvador, was convicted on the grounds that failing to seek antenatal care amounte.d to murder.

This is reported by The Guardian.

Hernandez, who at the time was 18, was in her third trimester, but hadn’t realised that she was pregnant. She had been repeatedly raped by a gang member over several months as part of a forced sexual relationship.

Medical experts were unable to ascertain whether the foetus died in utero or in the moments after delivery.

Hernandez insists that she only realized she had given birth after the fact when her mother took her to hospital with severe abdominal pain.

Hernandez was arrested after police found the deceased foetus in the toilet. She spent a week handcuffed to a hospital bed while being treated for severe anemia and a urinary tract infection and has been detained ever since.

The female judge accepted the prosecutor’s claims that Hernandez failed to seek antenatal care because she did not want the baby, and threw him into the toilet intending to kill him.

In sentencing, the judge went further and suggested that Hernandez could not have acted alone and that her mother may also be criminally responsible.

According to Morena Herrera, executive director of the Citizens’ Group for the Decriminalisation of Abortion, the verdict was based on prejudices held by the prosecutor and judge.

“The judgment sentencing Evelyn to 30 years in prison shows how in El Salvador justice is applied without direct proof, without sufficient evidence that clarifies what a woman has done,” Herrera said.

El Salvador – one of five countries where abortion is illegal in all circumstances – has imprisoned dozens of mainly poor young women for murder after they suffered obstetric complications.
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