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El Salvador court to free woman given 30 years for death of fetus

AMERICA
By Reuters | June 1st 2021

Women hold placards that read, "The defenders. We are with Sara" and "Freedom for Sara" as Sara Rogel, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a suspected abortion, attends a hearing in Cojutepeque, El Salvador. [Reuters]

A court in El Salvador has ordered the release of a young woman sentenced to 30 years in prison for homicide following the death of her unborn child in 2012, authorities said on Monday.

Sara Rogel was arrested in October 2012 after going to a hospital with bleeding injuries caused by what she said was a fall while carrying out chores at home. Then a 22-year-old student, Rogel was prosecuted and sentenced for killing her unborn daughter.

Salvadoran law applies one of the world's strictest bans on abortion with no exceptions made for rape, incest or when the mother's life is at risk.

More than eight years after Rogel was incarcerated, a judge for the Cojutepeque prison in eastern El Salvador granted her early release after accepting an appeal for pardon from her lawyers, said Ulises Marinero, chief spokesman for the courts.

Rogel will continue, however, to be held in custody because the prosecution still has five days to appeal the decision.

"We feel the ruling is very satisfactory due to the effort we've made to free all these women who have been criminalized for having had an obstetrical emergency like Sara," her defense attorney Abigail Cortez told Reuters.

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