A teenage rape victim has been sentenced to jail by a judge in El Salvador for murder.
The 19-year-old survivor will serve a 30 year sentence because her baby was stillborn. Abortion is illegal in El Salvador which solidifies the grounds that her failure to get prenatal care amounted to homicide.
Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz was 18 at the time of childbirth. She reportedly gave birth in a bathroom last April after severe pain in her stomach and back. She hadn't realised that she was in the third trimester of a pregnancy, the Guardian reported.
The high-school girl had reportedly been raped multiple times in a forced sexual relationship but never reported the rapes out of fear. Amnesty International reports that the hospital that received her reported the stillbirth to authorities.
Medical experts could not determine if the death happened before or after delivery. The judge hearing the case reportedly accepted prosecutors' theory that Hernandez didn't seek prenatal care because she didn't want the baby, and further suggested her mother might also be criminally responsible.
According to Morena Herrera, executive director of the Citizens' Group of Decriminlisation of Abortion, the verdict was based on prejudices held by the prosecutor and judge, Guardian.
"El Salvador’s anti-abortion law is causing nothing but pain and suffering to countless women and girls and their families," Amnesty's Americas director Erika Guevara-Rosas said in a statement. "The total ban on abortion in El Salvador violates women’s rights to life, health, privacy, due process and freedom from discrimination, violence and torture and other ill-treatment," she further added.
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