A court in El Salvador has jailed a mum-to-be for 50 years for aggravated homicide, after suffering a miscarriage in a toilet.
Lesly Lisbeth Ramirez, 21, was handed the severe punishment late last month under a draconian abortion law in the small Central American country.
The court accused the woman, from El Volcan de San Miguel, of having “taken the life of her new-born” with “six injuries to her neck with a knife” as they handed her a maximum sentence.
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Lesly went to the toilet on June 17, 2020, and did not realise she had suffered a miscarriage until her stillborn baby daughter fell into the bowl, claims the Citizens’ Group for the Decriminalisation of Abortion.
She was rushed to hospital, but soon after was charged with a major crime.
Just 10 days had elapsed from her tragic loss when she was ordered to stand before a judge for her first hearing, although she was not able to attend as she was still receiving blood transfusions.
In her absence, the judge ordered that she should be held in custody.
She was eventually put on trial and was found guilty of aggravated homicide and handed a 50-year prison term, which rights groups say is the first time the maximum sentence has been given since abortion in any circumstance was criminalised in the country in 1998.
The judge in his ruling said: “Mothers are the source of protection for children in any circumstance of life and you were not.”
In a statement, the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of El Salvador said: “Lesly Lisbeth Ramirez, 21, will spend the next 50 years in jail for having taken the life of her new-born descendant, as confirmed by prosecutors from the San Miguel Life Unit.
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“The accused was deemed responsible for the aggravated homicide of the baby for causing six injuries to her neck with a knife.
“The coroner’s inquest gave as the final cause of death ‘a blunt-cut wound to the throat produced by a knife’.”
The Citizens’ Group for the Decriminalisation of Abortion also accuse prosecutors of a massive lack of evidence in what they claim happened the night was stillborn.
They said: “The legal process against Lesly was full of irregularities and prejudices. With all these gaps and doubts, the judge sentenced Lesley basing his decision on mere gender bias.”
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