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The Salvadoran State was found to be at fault in 2021 by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in the case of Manuela vs. El Salvador, whose resolution mandates an end to the criminalization of women who suffer obstetric emergencies. Despite this decision, the Prosecutor’s Office continues to persecute women who face such circumstances.
In June 2021, twenty-four-year-old “Carmen” suffered an out-of-hospital birth at her workplace. When seeking medical help as she was bleeding to death, she was reported to authorities and taken from the hospital to jail.
Scientific evidence proves Carmen’s innocence. But the Prosecutor’s Office has again been merciless with the young woman. Although the court dismissed the case in March 2022, the Prosecutor’s Office appealed the decision, and she was required to undergo another trial.
A public hearing was scheduled for the case on December 16, 2022, but the prosecutor did not present the witnesses and expert reports with which it intended to convict the young woman. For this reason, the hearing was postponed until January 2023. On January 12 the prosecutor in the case requested a 50 years prison sentence for Carmen, clearly an act of cruelty, since there is no evidence to support the accusation and the criminalization.
“In trials against young women living in poverty, the practice of judicial cruelty by the Attorney General of the Republic seems to have no limits, because despite lacking evidence to support their accusation, they asked for a maximum sentence of 50 years, reversed the dismissal of the case granted by the judge and revictimized Carmen again, subjecting her to another distressing and stigmatizing process. They forget that as an organ of the State their obligation is to seek justice and not only seek the conviction of women who have not committed a crime,” said Morena Herrera, president of the Citizen Association for the Decriminalization of Abortion, an organization that provides legal representation for the victim.
“Carmen* is innocent, we have proven it at trial. We reject this act of the Prosecutor, where it persecutes and seeks to criminalize young women living in poverty who face out-of-hospital births and/or obstetric emergencies.”
We want Carmen to take her life back!
*Carmen is a pseudonym to protect the identity of the victim