On 16 August, during the second day of the hearings on her case, Evelyn spoke to the court and told the judge she hoped for justice and to be able to return to her studies, and that she was innocent. At the end of the day, her legal team told the media gathered outside the courtroom that they were satisfied with what they had accomplished in demonstrating to the court that she had done nothing during the unexpected delivery of the stillborn baby, or afterwards, to harm it. Meanwhile, the Fiscal (Attorney General) asked the court to find her guilty and to sentence her to 40 years in prison (the original sentence she was appealing was 30 years). Yet as her supporters in El Salvador tweeted throughout the process, there was not a shred of evidence to show she had done anything wrong. The demand for a 40-year sentence was, to say the least, disproportionate.
The trial continued on 19 August. At the end of the day, the judge acquitted her of all charges against her, and she regained her freedom, with celebrations in the street. One supporter tweeted: “How can you doubt the word of a woman who gave birth in the worst possible conditions! Living in conditions of poverty with little education, and they ask for 40 years in prison for her? Seriously, are you not ashamed, Fiscal!”
All credit to the judge, José Virgilio Jurado Martínez, who ensured justice was done in his courtroom. After waiting for three years from the time she was arrested, Evelyn is free. In a statement outside the courtroom, full of emotion, she called for all the other women like her, still in prison, to be freed as well. Watch her this video!
We join with many others around the world to congratulate her legal team and especially Las17 and the feminist and human rights movements in El Salvador for strong campaigns to free her and so many others like her – victims of violence and injustice – well fought and won.