El Salvador woman jailed over abortion released
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PRETORIA - A Salvadorean woman sentenced to 30 years in prison on suspicion of undergoing an abortion was released after almost nine years behind bars, AFP reported on Tuesday.
Sara Rogel, 28, was arrested in October 2012 after going to a hospital with bleeding injuries.
As a 20-year-old student, Rogel, who was eight months pregnant, slipped and fell while washing clothes, the French news agency wrote.
It said her family found her lying unconscious and took her to hospital, where authorities detained her on suspicion of having had an abortion.
A court then found her guilty of aggravated homicide and sentenced her to 30 years in prison, but her lawyers later helped her reduce the sentence to a decade, which would have seen her released in October 2022, AFP reported.
According to Al Jazeera, Rogel is one of dozens of Salvadorean women imprisoned for abortion-related crimes in the country, which banned abortion in all circumstances, including rape or if the mother’s life is in danger, in 1998.
Women’s rights groups have said most of these women come from poor rural areas and experienced obstetric emergencies, not abortions, the Middle East-headquartered broadcaster said.
“Sara never deserved to be in prison while in mourning for the heartbreaking loss of her pregnancy, Sara should have been with her family. Instead, she was unjustly imprisoned for nine years,” feminist activist Morena Herrera was quoted as saying.
“She was deprived of freedom for almost nine years, in a sentence we believed was unfairly given,” her lawyer Karla Vaquerano, of the pro-abortion rights group ACDATEE, was quoted as saying.
According to The Week UK, abortion is banned in Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic and only allowed in certain restricted circumstances in most other Latin American nations.