Salvadoran prosecutors take aim, again, at woman in abortion case


SAN SALVADOR  – The attorney general’s office of El Salvador announced on Friday it will appeal last month’s acquittal of a young woman accused of killing her stillborn son, marking what would be her third trial in the socially conservative Central American country.

Evelyn Hernandez was exonerated in an August retrial after an earlier judgment found her guilty of homicide and sentenced her to 30 years in prison. Hernandez, 21, said she was raped by a gang member and was unaware of her pregnancy until just before delivering a stillborn son in early 2016.

But prosecutors want another shot at returning Hernandez to prison, where she has already severed three years behind bars, due to what they describe in a statement as “overabundant” proof of her criminal responsibility. “There’s no reason to consider her a victim of anything. On the contrary, the only victim is her son,” the statement said.

Hernandez was rushed to hospital after complications during the birth. Once there, medical staff accused her of attempting an illegal abortion and handed her over to authorities, her defense says.

El Salvador’s Supreme Court overturned the original conviction in February, ordering Hernandez released, and concluding that the judge’s decision was based on prejudice and insufficient evidence. Women prosecuted under El Salvador’s hardline abortion laws, which ban the procedure in all circumstances, include those who have suffered stillbirths after home deliveries as well as abortions induced because of medical emergencies.(Reuters)…[+]