A Teenage Rape Victim Has Been Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For Having A Stillbirth

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A Teenage Rape Victim Has Been Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For Having A Stillbirth

The teenager is among a number of women sentenced for breaking El Salvador’s strict abortion laws, despite having a stillbirth.

Posted on July 07, 2017, 11:31 GMT

According to the Guardian, Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz was convicted for failing to seek proper care for her unborn child, and therefore amounting to its murder. She was apparently unaware of her pregnancy until she gave birth in her school’s toilet in April 2016.

Cruz had been repeatedly raped while in a forced relationship prior to her pregnancy. She did not seek help as she had been too scared to approach police.

She was reported to officials by hospital staff when she went to seek care. The babies body was later found in the school toilet. The prosecutor in the trial argued that Cruz intentionally hurt the baby.

During Cruz’s trial, women stood outside the Isidro Menéndez Judicial Center in San Salvador, holding signs protesting her treatment by authorities.

Evelyn, no estas solo las defensoras seguimos luchando por tu libertad. #JusticiaParaEvelyn #Las7 #ElSalvador

01:21 AM – 08 Mar 2017

“Evelyn, you are not the only defender, We are still fighting for your freedom.”

Others tweeted throughout the trial, raising awareness of her case. Las17 — a group named after the 17 cases between 1999 and 2011 in which women were imprisoned for miscarriages — tweeted daily reports on the trial.

Audiencia de sentencia miércoles 5 de julio 2017 #Las17 #ElSalvador

11:37 PM – 03 Jul 2017

Evelyn was sentenced 30 yrs for an obstetric emergency today. This is Justice in #ElSalvador When will it end?… https://t.co/KE9aUtQIl1

10:24 PM – 05 Jul 2017

Evelyn, una mujer joven y pobre, fue condenada hoy a 30 años de cárcel, tuvo una complicación obstétrica y su hijo murió por esa causa.

02:31 AM – 06 Jul 2017

“Evelyn, a poor young woman, was sentenced today to 30 years in prison, had an obstetric complication and her son died because of it.”

The hashtag #JusticiaParaEvelyn – Justice for Evelyn – was used to organize protests and gatherings to support her.

Evelyn no estás sola : #JusticiaparaEvelyn @Unaflorporlas17

12:53 AM – 07 Jul 2017

“Evelyn you are not alone.”

Cruz’s case is not uncommon. Abortion is banned in El Salvador under any circumstances. While miscarriage and stillbirth are not formally criminalized, many women who suffer them are charged with the “aggravated homicide” of the fetus.

Marvin Recinos / AFP / Getty Images

An Amnesty International report in 2015 said at least 19 women were in jail in El Salvador for abortion-related crimes. Some women convicted have later been freed.

Las17 said on Thursday that Cruz’s attorneys would appeal the court’s ruling.

Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rachael Krishna at rachael.krishna@buzzfeed.com.

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