Things That Matter

The Salvadoran Rape Victim Who Was Sentenced To 20 Years For Delivering a Stillborn Child Is Up Against A New Trial

Update: Evelyn Beatríz Hernández’s controversial court case was reopened in El Salvador on Monday. It was swiftly suspended after a decision was made that a new trial date would be announced on July 26.

Evelyn Beatríz Hernández was just a student in high school when she was raped in 2016. As a victim, Hernández, who is from El Salvador, said that she was unaware that the assault had resulted in pregnancy when she went into labor in a bathroom in her home and gave birth to a stillborn. Still, despite the tragedies that befell her, Hernández found herself in even worse conditions when she was arrested, put on trial and ultimately sentenced to 30 years in prison for the alleged aggravated murder of the stillborn.

Now, 21, Hernández is due for a retrial.

In February, Hernández’s sentence was annulled, thanks to efforts of civil rights groups.

During her trial in 2017, Hernández was sentenced to a 30-year prison sentence by a female judge who ruled she had induced an abortion. The young woman’s home country of El Salvador has one of the world’s most strict abortion bans where abortion is also illegal in cases of rape, incest, or even when the mother’s life is in jeopardy.

Now, civil rights groups are pushing for Hernández’s release.

“We’re convinced that Evelyn is innocent,” Ana Martínez, a lawyer part of the advocacy organization Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion and one of Hernández’s lawyers explained to Reuters in an interview. “We hope that on Monday the rule of law and justice wins in this country.”

The CDFA has said that there is no proof that Hernández had actually sought to abort her child.

They also found that she had experienced pregnancy complications. Hernández has said that she was unaware of her pregnancy and confused symptoms for stomach aches and cramps and “experienced intermittent bleeding which she presumed to be her menstrual period.”

El Salvador is one of six countries in the world with complete abortion bans. It’s conviction rates are high and today they have nearly 20 women in jail for abortion crimes after experiencing miscarriages and stillbirths.

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