Teen rape victim sentenced to 30 years in prison after stillbirth

A 19-year-old rape victim has been sentenced to 30 years in jail in El Salvador after her baby was stillborn.

Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz, 19, was convicted on charges of ‘aggravated homicide‘.

It’s believed that Ms Hernandez, who’s from the Cuscatlán area of El Salvador, had been repeatedly raped by a gang member and hadn’t known she was pregnant.

The Guardian reports that the teenager gave birth into the toilet in April 2016, aged 18. Experts have been unable to say whether the baby died before or immediately after birth.

The female judge ruled on Wednesday (July 5) that Ms Hernandez’s failure to seek antenatal care had been deliberate, due to her not wanting the baby. She concluded that Ms Hernandez had tried to kill the baby by throwing him into the toilet.

Abortion has been illegal in all circumstances in El Salvador since 1998. As a result, many young women – including victims of rape or incest – have been imprisoned.

The case has caused Amnesty International to call for the urgent repeal of the central American country’s anti-abortion law.

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said: “El Salvador’s anti-abortion law is causing nothing but pain and suffering to countless women and girls and their families. It goes against human rights and it has no place in the country or anywhere.

“The total ban on abortion in El Salvador violates women’s rights to life, health, privacy, due process and freedom from discrimination, violence and torture and other ill-treatment.

"All women and girls imprisoned for having had an abortion or experiencing obstetric emergencies should be immediately and unconditionally released, and the law must be repealed without delay.”

Dennis Munoz, Ms Hernandez’s lawyer, said the judge’s verdict was “a decision based on morality, not the law or justice”. He intends to appeal.