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Retrial resumes of Salvadoran woman on homicide charge after delivering stillborn son

Reuters San Salvador
Updated: 15-08-2019 21:56 IST
Retrial resumes of Salvadoran woman on homicide charge after delivering stillborn son

Image Credit: ANI

The retrial of a Salvadoran woman convicted of aggravated homicide after a stillbirth resumed on Thursday, offering a chance to overturn her 30-year sentence in a country that bans abortion in all circumstances. "I only wish to tell you that I am an innocent girl. I have always told you that I am innocent," Evelyn Hernandez, 21, told reporters as she entered the court.

In February, the Supreme Court had ordered Evelyn Hernandez released and retried because the original judge's decision was based on prejudice and insufficient evidence. Hernandez has served three years of a three-decade sentence that was handed down after prosecutors said she had induced an abortion, despite her account that she was unaware of her pregnancy when she delivered a stillborn son in 2016.

She again stated her innocence in the retrial, which began in mid-July but went on recess due to the illness of a witness. Hernandez, a domestic worker who was studying to be a nurse, has said she was impregnated after being raped by a gang member. "My goals are to keep studying, and I only ask the prosecution to think things through because I am really innocent," Hernandez said in a steady voice. "Also, to the judge, I know that he will do justice. God willing, all will end well."

Any intentional termination of a pregnancy in El Salvador can be prosecuted as a crime, including stillbirths due to home delivery or abortions induced because of medical emergencies. Some 147 Salvadoran women were sentenced to up to 40 years in prison in such cases between 2000 and 2014, according to the Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion.

Hernandez's retrial is the first such case to be heard under President Nayib Bukele, who took office in June and has supported the right to abortion when a woman's life is at risk.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

COUNTRY : El Salvador