Release Imelda- Justice for women in El Salvador
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Imelda is 20 years old, she is currently imprisoned, fighting for justice.
She lived in poverty in Jiquilisco, a rural municipality located in the department of Usulután, El Salvador. From the age of twelve, she was continually raped by her 70 year old step-father. In 2016, she became pregnant with his child; that year, she was in 9th grade and had just started high school. From then on, various events occurred which ultimately lead to Imelda’s imprisonment.
Imelda recounts how on April 17, 2017, she went to a latrine, at which point she felt that she expelled something, without knowing what. She began to bleed immediately, and in the wake of the pain she shouted to her mother for help and then fainted. Imelda's mother sought help from a neighbor, and they transferred her to the National Hospital of Jiquilisco. Imelda suffered an unattended out-of- hospital delivery which her daughter survived, and yet the Public Ministry accuses her of attempted aggravated homicide. She has been imprisoned since April 2017.
While she was being treated, the health staff questioned her about her out-of-hospital delivery. A doctor on duty notified the National Civil Police, and Imelda was detained in the hospital. She faces up to 20 years of prison. The medical tests demonstrate that she has a cognitive disability; she is a victim of exclusion and poverty, but the Salvadoran State has not protected her rights, instead of being a victim, the Salvadoran Government criminalized her and deprived her of her human rights.
During the legal proceedings against Imelda, a series of human rights and due process violations occurred.
- She was sent into pretrial detention without any legal justification.
- On nine occasions the psychological test was cancelled and rescheduled because of lack of funding.
- The preliminary hearing was cancelled on seven occasions due to the lack of expert reports.
- During the preliminary hearing the responsible judge decided to continue with the case without taking into account the sexual violence suffered by Imelda, refusing to include the DNA test which proved the step father’s paternity and rape, and refusing to consider any alternative measure other than imprisonment.
Imelda will be judged on November 12th, 2018. Raise your voice and join us for #JusticeForImelda #JusticiaParaImelda . We demand that Imelda’s innocence be recognized and to the Public Prosecutor, so that the members of this institution guarantee their human rights.
*El Salvador is one of the six countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that has a complete ban on abortion. This means, that abortion cannot be performed under any circumstances, not even when the life of the mother is at risk or when the fetus suffers from extreme malformations that would prevent life outside the womb, nor if the pregnancy comes as a result of rape or incest.
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