A young Salvadoran woman who was 30 to 50 years in prison for the murder of her baby was acquitted on Monday, August 19, one of her lawyers said.
"Acquitted !!! Yes, we succeeded," Bertha Maria Deleon, the lawyer of 21-year-old Evelyn Hernandez, who always explained that the baby was stillborn, wrote on Twitter. "Today is a great day for justice!" Continued the lawyer in another message where you can see two pictures of her released client. "We have been able and we continue to fight because there are still women pursued seeking justice."
"I am happy," said the young woman leaving the court in Ciudad Delgado, northeast of San Salvador. "Thanks to God, justice has been done, and I thank you all who have come here," Evelyn Hernandez told the demonstrators waiting outside the courthouse.
The prosecution had charged her with a 40-year prison sentence for homicide aggravated by negligence.
Sentenced at first instance to 30 years in prison
A hundred women gathered on the scene let burst their joy: "Attention, attention, the feminist fight advances in Latin America", they chanted.
"All the time spent (in prison) has been hard," said the young woman, who stayed behind bars for 33 months after a first sentence of 30 years in prison in July 2017. The first judgment was overturned in February by the Supreme Court and Evelyn Hernandez had been released.
The Salvadoran Penal Code provides for two to eight years' imprisonment for abortion cases. But, in fact, the judges consider any loss of the baby as an "aggravated homicide", punishable by 30 to 50 years of imprisonment.
Sixteen women in prison for abortions
The case dates back to April 6, 2016, when the young woman, then teenager, gives birth to a baby in a toilet. Transferred to the hospital of the city of Cojutepeque (center), she is arrested and accused of homicide. Evelyn Hernandez has always protested her innocence and assured that her baby was stillborn.
Initially it was reported that Evelyn Hernandez had become pregnant after a rape, but her lawyer explained, without giving more details, prefer not to mention these circumstances at the request of the young woman who lives in a neighborhood gang-controlled and may be subject to retaliation.
At the end of the hearing on Friday, one of the young woman's lawyers, Arnau Baulenas, told AFP she expected an acquittal: "There is no evidence to suggest that Evelyn had the intention to end the life of the baby (...) is an accident, "he said.
Currently, 16 women are in prison in El Salvador for abortions. In recent months, five women sentenced for similar cases have been released.