Woman freed after 20 years in jail over abortion

Olowofela Adeniyi
2 Min Read

A woman has been freed from jail on Wednesday after serving 20 out of her 30-year sentence for having an abortion.

The remaining term of her sentence was commuted.

“We celebrate Elsy’s release from prison after 10 years behind bars,” said Morena Herrera, president of the Citizens Association for the Decriminalization of Abortion (ACDATEE), in a statement.

“Her wrongful conviction of 30 years for aggravated homicide is over.”

According to ACDATEE, Elsy suffered an “obstetric emergency” on June 15, 2011, after which she was taken into custody.

“The judicial process was marred by irregularities, it did not respect her procedural rights, it did not respect the presumption of innocence and she was immediately detained,” the association added.

Elsy is the fifth woman imprisoned for abortion in El Salvador to be freed since December.

Since 1998, abortion under any circumstance has been outlawed in the country, even in cases where there is a danger for the health of the mother or child.

While maximum prison sentences for abortion are eight years, charges are usually filed for “aggravated homicide,” which carry sentences of up to 50 years.

The director of the Women’s Equality Center, Paula Avila-Guillen, called on El Salvador President Nayib Bukele “to liberate all the other innocent women” currently behind bars under similar circumstances.

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