Murder retrial of Salvadoran woman over stillborn son to continue

By Nelson Renteria CIUDAD DELGADO, El Salvador (Reuters) - The retrial of a Salvadoran woman convicted of aggravated homicide after a stillbirth adjourned without a verdict on Thursday, in a closely watched case that could overturn a 30-year prison sentence handed down after prosecutors said she had induced an abortion. El Salvador bans abortion in all circumstances.

Reuters August 16, 2019 07:10:33 IST
Murder retrial of Salvadoran woman over stillborn son to continue

Murder retrial of Salvadoran woman over stillborn son to continue

By Nelson Renteria

CIUDAD DELGADO, El Salvador (Reuters) - The retrial of a Salvadoran woman convicted of aggravated homicide after a stillbirth adjourned without a verdict on Thursday, in a closely watched case that could overturn a 30-year prison sentence handed down after prosecutors said she had induced an abortion.

El Salvador bans abortion in all circumstances.

The judge ordered a recess Thursday afternoon after a witness for the prosecution failed to appear.

"I only wish to tell you that I am an innocent girl. I have always told you that I am innocent," the defendant Evelyn Hernandez, 21, told reporters as she entered the court.

As she left the courthouse she told a small mob of reporters that she is "expecting justice" and praying that on Friday she will be exonerated.

Bertha de Leon, Hernandez's lawyer, said the prosecution has failed to prove that her client "wanted to kill the newborn, but instead it was a complicated birth."

In February, the Supreme Court had ordered Hernandez released and retried because the original judge's decision was based on prejudice and insufficient evidence.

Hernandez has served three years of the three-decade sentence that was handed down. Hernandez had said that she was unaware of her pregnancy when she delivered a stillborn son in 2016.

She again stated her innocence in the retrial, which began in mid-July but went on recess due to the illness of a witness. Hernandez, a domestic worker who was studying to be a nurse, has said she was impregnated after being raped by a gang member.

"My goals are to keep studying, and I only ask the prosecution to think things through because I am really innocent," Hernandez said in a steady voice. "Also, to the judge, I know that he will do justice. God willing, all will end well."

Any intentional termination of a pregnancy in El Salvador can be prosecuted as a crime, including stillbirths due to home delivery or abortions induced because of medical emergencies.

Some 147 Salvadoran women were sentenced to up to 40 years in prison in such cases between 2000 and 2014, according to the Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion.

Hernandez's retrial is the first such case to be heard under President Nayib Bukele, who took office in June and has supported the right to abortion when a woman's life is at risk.

The retrial is set to resume Friday at 9 a.m. (1500 GMT).

(Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Writing by Daina Beth Solomon and David Alire Garcia; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.