Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Lee Bullen, Agency: Newsflash
A young Salvadoran mother who was jailed for aggravated homicide after giving birth to a stillborn baby that prosecutors said was an abortion has been freed after six years behind bars.
The 29-year-old woman’s original sentence was 30 years. El Salvador has some of the world’s least progressive reproductive rights.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, based in New York City, has reported that Cindy Aracely Erazo was released from prison by the Salvadoran authorities on 22nd September.
Erazo was jailed after she suffered a stillbirth at a shopping centre in the capital, San Salvador, in August 2014. She was eight months and one week pregnant.
She was detained at the shopping centre and was sentenced the following year to 30 years in prison, reduced to 10 years on appeal in 2016, for the charge of aggravated homicide.
A statement from the Center for Reproductive Rights, a Latin American women’s advocacy organization that provides international support to the Citizen Group said: “There is no evidence to show that Cindy has ever tried to terminate the pregnancy or harm the fetus.”
Erazo has been released on parole after completing six years of her sentence, due to good behaviour and her participation in rehabilitation programs.
In 2019, she had been allowed to leave the prison one day a week to visit her family and her 10-year-old son. Due to COVID-19 regulations, this was no longer possible, and this was also a factor in her early release.
Human rights organisations have informed local media that they will push for her full freedom.
El Salvador has had a total ban on abortion since 1998, even in cases where the woman’s life is at risk or the pregnancy was a result of rape. Women who suffer miscarriages or stillbirths are routinely suspected of having had abortions.
There are 18 women currently imprisoned in El Salvador for breaching anti-abortion laws. Human rights organisations have called on President Nayib Bukele, who is reportedly sympathetic to their cause, to push for their release.
Between 2000 and 2014, 149 legal proceedings were initiated against women for abortion or homicide in El Salvador. Most women in prison in the Central American country are between the ages of 18 and 25.
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