Salvadoran woman suspected of abortion acquitted at retrial

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Evelyn Hernandez, 21, smiles in court after being acquitted on charges of aggravated homicide in her retrial related to the loss of a pregnancy in 2016, in Ciudad Delgado on the outskirts of San Salvador, El Salvador, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. Hernandez, who has said she did not realize she was pregnant as the result of a rape when she gave birth into a latrine at 32 weeks, was originally sentenced to 30 years under El Salvador’s strict abortion laws. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)

CIUDAD HIDALGO, El Salvador (AP) — A court in El Salvador has acquitted at retrial a young rape victim who was suspected of having an abortion and charged with homicide.

The case of Evelyn Beatriz Hernández has attracted international attention to the country’s strict abortion laws and prosecutors’ aggressive pursuit of legal cases against women who have miscarriages or other obstetric emergencies.

Hernández’s fetus was at 32 weeks when she felt intense abdominal pains and delivered it into a primitive toilet. She has said she didn’t know she was pregnant.

After the verdict was announced Monday, she said “justice was done.” The Associated Press usually does not name victims of alleged sexual assault, but Hernández has spoken publicly about her case.

She served 33 months of a 30-year prison sentence before her conviction was overturned.

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