Crime & Justice

Salvadoran woman sent to prison for abortion in 2013 released

San Salvador, Jun 7 (EFE).- A Salvadoran woman serving a 30-year prison term for allegedly aborting the fetus she was carrying was released on Monday after the Attorney General’s Office decided not to overturn the conditional release granted her by a court.

The Public Ministry reported Friday that it would not appeal the ruling because “there are no elements on which to base the said appeal, since it fulfills all the requirements to provide her with the benefit (of conditional release).”

Sara Rogel was sentenced to 30 years behind bars in September 2013 and had her sentence commuted last January, meaning that her sentence was reduced to 10 years, according to what attorney Karla Vaquerano told reporters on Monday.

The Second Criminal Court in the city of Cojutepeque on May 31 held a hearing to consider the request for early parole, ultimately ruling in favor of the young woman.

Rogel, who is from a rural part of the country and was 20 years old when she was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the crime of aggravated homicide for allegedly aborting her unborn child, had been held in the women’s prison in the city of Zacatecoluca.

Relatives of Rogel came to Zacatecoluca to celebrate her release, although she must abide by a series of restrictions such as being prohibited from leaving the country while she fulfills the remainder of her sentence.

According to reports by the Citizens’ Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion, the pregnant Rogel in October 2012 had an obstetric emergency slipping and falling while she was washing clothes.

The organization said that the young woman “lost a lot of blood and fainted, was taken to a hospital and while still there and in delicate health, she was accused of wanting to terminate her pregnancy, for which she was arrested and charged with aggravated homicide.”

In El Salvador, women who suffer complications during their pregnancies leading to miscarriages and stillbirths are regularly suspected of having had an abortion, which is prohibited under all circumstances, is legally called aggravated homicide and which carries a prison term of 30 years.

At least 16 women who gave birth outside a hospital and were accused of abortion like Rogel are now in prison in El Salvador, one of the countries that prohibits abortion under any and all cases, according to the Citizens’ Group.

In March 2020, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele revealed his stance on abortion in an unprecedented interview with Puerto Rican rapper Residente.

“I’m not in favor of abortion and I believe that in the end, in the future, someday we’re going to realize that it’s a great genocide that’s being committed with abortions,” the president said.

A survey released on Jan. 21, 2021, found that 82.7 percent of the public disapproves of “abortion for therapeutic reasons.”


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