A mum-to-be who suffered a miscarriage has been jailed for 50 years by a court in El Salvador, which has some of the world’s harshest abortion laws.
A court in the Central American nation jailed Lesly Lisbeth Ramirez Ramirez, 21, on 29th June after finding her guilty of aggravated homicide.
The young woman had suffered a miscarriage two years earlier, say organisations protesting the court’s decision.
It was on the night of 17th June 2020 that Lesly, then aged 19, felt the urge to poo and went to use the lavatory.
She did not realise she had actually had a miscarriage until her stillborn baby fell into the toilet bowl, claims the Citizens’ Group for the Decriminalisation of Abortion.
Her relatives, with the intention of helping her, called the police and took her to a hospital.
But incredibly, she soon found herself accused of a major crime under El Salvador’s tough abortion laws.
Just 10 days after her loss, her first hearing was held, but Lesly was unable to attend because she was still receiving blood transfusions.
A judge ordered her to be remanded in custody later that day.
Rights groups say this is the first time the maximum sentence has been given since abortion in any circumstance was criminalised in the country in 1998.
Lesly hails from the rural area of El Volcan de San Miguel and is the third of seven siblings from a poor family that lacks drinking water and electricity.
Her family gets by on agricultural work and she had to abandon her studies in seventh grade to take care of her younger siblings.
The Citizens’ Group said that the judge, in his ruling, said: “Mothers are the source of protection for children in any circumstance of life and you were not.”
The group added: “The legal process against Lesly was full of irregularities and prejudices, in this regard the defence requested to annul the investigation phase because the judge did not admit the incorporation of evidence that demonstrated her innocence.”
Among the evidence allegedly not admitted by the judge was an expert opinion “showing the gender violence to which Lesly had been subjected”.
The group said: “With all these gaps and doubts, the judge sentenced Lesly basing his decision on mere gender bias.”
In a statement obtained by Newsflash on 30th June, the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of El Salvador said: “Lesly Lisbeth Ramirez Ramirez, 21, will spend the next 50 years in jail for having taken the life of her newborn descendant, as confirmed by prosecutors from the San Miguel Life Unit.
“The accused was deemed responsible for the aggravated homicide of the baby for causing six injuries to her neck with a knife.
“The prison sentence was given by the San Miguel First Sentencing Court based on the evidence presented in the trial by the case’s prosecutors.
“The coroner’s inquest gave as the final cause of death ‘a blunt-cut wound to the throat produced by a knife’.”
“The unfortunate events occurred on 17th June, 2020, at approximately 10.30pm inside a house in the El Volcan canton.
“According to the investigations, the young woman hid her pregnancy from her relatives, and had an out-of-hospital delivery, in which she gave birth to a girl who was born alive and who, through forensic examinations, was estimated to be between thirty-seven and forty weeks of gestation.
“Later, she caused the baby the wounds and left her lying on the patio of the house.
“When her relatives became aware of the unfortunate events, they helped the accused and transferred her to the San Miguel National Hospital, where she was detained in flagrante delicto by agents from the National Civil Police.
“The processing of the scene, where the knife used in the crime was found, and the removal of the baby’s body, took place in the early hours of 18th June, 2020.”