EL SALVADOR – State recognises Inter-American Court ruling on mistreatment of Manuela

In 2021, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) issued a judgment that declared the Salvadoran State responsible for violations of the judicial guarantees, integrity, freedom, and the right to equality before the law of Manuela and her family, a woman who died in prison while serving a 30-year sentence for abortion. The State will seek alternative education and medical care as reparations.

“The announcement is positive, but the lack of political will regarding the case is evident,” the National Citizen Group for the Decriminalisation of Abortion President Morena Herrera stated, arguing that the Salvadorian State has not asked forgiveness from the victim’s relatives. “The Inter-American Court judgments are binding on governments. However, the speed and effectiveness with which they are fulfilled depend on the political will of the administrations. We have to continue fighting for justice in Manuela’s name,” Herrera insisted. The Citizen Group has fought for many years for the release of women who were imprisoned for having a miscarriage.

In February 2008, Manuela fell while washing clothes in a river and suffered a spontaneous miscarriage. After being admitted to the San Francisco Gotera National Hospital, she was detained and prosecuted for murder. Manuela died in 2010 due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The Inter-American Court asserted that she received late and irregular treatment and was kept in custody.

In 1997, Salvadorian lawmakers voted to ban abortion without exception on religious grounds. Since then, thousands of women who suffered obstetric emergencies in this Central American country have been accused of aggravated homicide and many sentenced to spend long years in prison.

SOURCE: Telesure English, 10 January 2023; PHOTO: Twitter @Delfinocrc