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El Salvador: Rape victim cleared of child's murder after stillbirth

1 20.08.2019 Инфо

M/S Evelyn Hernandez smiling in court in Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador
C/U Green ribbon in support of Hernandez' freedom
W/S Hernandez in court
M/S Lawyers flipping through pages
W/S Photographers in courtroom
W/S Hernandez exits court, celebrates
M/S Celebrations
M/S Celebrations
SOT, Berta de Leon, Hernandez's lawyer (Spanish): "The judge came to the conclusion that there is no way to corroborate the crime. They couldn't establish if or where the birth took place. In other words, the investigation was insufficient and couldn't meet the burden of proof to find her guilty, so she was absolved. We are satisfied as her defence, because that's the result we were hoping for."
W/S Journalists filming Hernandez speaking
SOT, Evelyn Hernandez, defendant (Spanish): "This time in court has been tough, knowing I was accused of a crime I did not commit. There are many others in prison, I hope they'll be out soon. Thank you. I can't say thank you enough for having been here always. Thank you."
M/S Hernandez hugs supporter
SCRIPT
Evelyn Hernandez, a rape victim who was accused of child murder after delivering a stillborn baby as a teenager, and faced decades in prison, was found not guilty in a retrial on Monday in Ciudad Delgado near the Salvadorian capital San Salvador.
Hernandez was pictured smiling inside court and celebrating outside the court with her supporters after the verdict was announced.
"The judge came to the conclusion that there is no way to corroborate the crime. They couldn't establish if or where the birth took place. In other words, the investigation was insufficient and couldn't meet the burden of proof to find her guilty, so she was absolved," said her lawyer, Berta de Leon.
Hernandez, now 21, was in her first year of university when she says she was raped. After suffering stillbirth, she was charged with deliberately killing her unborn baby.
Despite insisting that she did not know she was pregnant, she was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
She had already served 33 months in prison when she was freed this February on appeal. This time, reports say, prosecutors have asked for an even longer sentence of 40 years in prison.
The case has drawn attention to the El Salvador's rigid abortion law where a total ban on abortion was imposed in 1998, making it illegal for women even when the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother's life or in cases of rape and incest.