El Salvador Frees Woman From Prison Nine Years After Abortion Accusation

El Salvador on June 8 has released a woman who served nine years of a 30-year sentence after being accused of terminating her pregnancy and violating the country’s strict abortion laws.

Sara Rogel was freed on parole from the women’s prison near Zacatecoluca, 56 kilometers southeast of the capital San Salvador, years after being prosecuted and convicted for killing her unborn daughter in the country with one of the world’s strictest bans on abortion.

“She was deprived of freedom for almost nine years, in a sentence we believed was unfairly given,” Rogel’s lawyer Karla Vaquerano told AFP News upon Rogel’s release.

Authorities arrested Rogel on Oct. 8, 2012 on suspicion of having had an abortion after she went to the hospital with bleeding injuries.

Rogel, who was eight months pregnant at the age of 18 at the time, said she slipped and fell while doing household chores, according to the Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion in El Salvador.

“Sara’s freedom is a hope of justice for all who are still in prison,” the pro-abortion group said in a statement.

“El Salvador must stop the systematic persecution and wrongful imprisonment of vulnerable women who lose their pregnancies through miscarriages and other obstetric emergencies,” the group urged.

El Salvador’s harsh abortion laws does not grant exceptions, even for rape of if the mother’s life is at risk.

Prison sentences for those who violate abortion laws can reach up to 40 years.


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