El Salvador releases woman imprisoned after miscarriage
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — El Salvador has released another woman imprisoned for aggravated homicide who after suffering an obstetric emergency was accused of aborting her pregnancy in a country where abortion under any circumstances is banned.
The woman, who activists helping her only identified as Elsy, had served more than a decade of a 30-year sentence. She was the fifth woman released before completion of her sentence since late December of last year.
“We celebrate that Elsy has been freed after being unjustly in prison a little more than 10 years,” said Morena Herrera, director of the nonprofit Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion. “Her erroneous 30-year sentence for aggravated homicide has ended.”
Elsy’s sentence was commuted and her rights restored, Herrera said.
The woman was reunited with her family in Yayantique in eastern El Salvador Wednesday.
In June 2011, Elsy, a 28-year-old single mother, was working as a domestic employee when she suffered an apparent miscarriage. She sought help, but instead of receiving medical assistance she was immediately arrested on the suspicion that she had aborted her pregnancy.
After a trial plagued by irregularities she was convicted and sentenced for aggravated homicide.
Herrera’s organization said Elsy did not have a legal defense from the public defender handling her case that protected her rights. Even after the Supreme Court of Justice agreed to commute her sentence and the Attorney General’s Office signed off, her lawyer’s still had to appeal after a lower court refused to release her.
On Dec. 23, El Salvador released three women similarly imprisoned and a fourth on Jan. 17.
In the past 20 years, El Salvador has prosecuted 181 women who suffered obstetric emergencies. Herrera’s organization has succeeded in freeing 61 of them since 2009.