El Salvador woman freed after 15 years in jail for abortion crime

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    A women has been released from prison in El Salvador after serving 15 years of her 30-year sentence for committing an abortion, which she said was a miscarriage.

    Maira Veronica Figueroa Marroquin was sentenced in 2003 on aggravated murder charges, but saw the rest of her sentence commuted by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

    Marroquin maintained the death of her baby was the result of a complicated stillbirth that she had suffered.

    Following her release, the justice ministry said to local media that the charges were “excessive and immoral”.

    After her release, Marroquin, 34, said, “now I’m going to start again and recover my lost time”. She was met by by family, activists and media outside of prison in the capital.

    Whilst working as a house cleaner at 19 years old, Marroquin experienced pregnancy complications and before the pregnancy became full-term, she miscarried.

    She was arrested at a local hospital and due to a lack of witness testimony Marroquin was charged with inducing an abortion.

    A strict Roman Catholic nation, El Salvador has banned abortion since 1998.

    El Salvador is only one of five countries to not allow abortion under any circumstance – whether the pregnancy is due to rape, incest, a deformed fetus or the pregnancy is detrimental to a woman’s health.

    Abortion is penalised with lengthy sentences and usually carries an eight year sentence. Once the charge is deemed to be aggravated murder, it can carry a 30-year sentence.

    Medical professionals can also face prosecution, should they fail to report suspected abortions.

    Human rights groups say such laws permit the criminalisation of miscarriages and emergencies.

    Colectivo Feminista, a feminist advocacy group, said in a statement “there exists no direct proof”, relating to the charges levelled at Marroquin.

    The group affirmed they would continue to fight for females in similar circumstances and a change in legislation around abortion.

    Since 2000 there have been more that 100 convictions over abortion related crimes in El Salvador.

    The news of Marroquin‘s release came in the wake of the case against Teodora Vasquez, whose 30-year sentence in 2008 was reduced in February after she spent more than 10 years in jail.

    View the original article: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/03/el-salvador-woman-freed-15-years-jail-abortion-crime-180314084422511.html

    There are currently more than 20 women in jail on similar charges in El Salvador.

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