Costa Rica Coffee Guide

El Salvador acquits woman charged with murder over premature birth

December 19, 2018

A judge in El Salvador on Monday acquitted a 20-year-old rape victim originally charged with murder after giving birth prematurely in a toilet.

Imelda Cortez’s daughter survived but the woman was charged homicide after the baby was found in a septic tank.

It was seen as a landmark case by women’s rights groups in El Salvador, where abortion is completely banned and women can face up to 40 years in prison, even for a miscarriage.

A court in the southeastern city of Usulutan “absolved” Cortez, her defense lawyer Bertha Maria Deleon wrote on Twitter.

A spokesman from the La Casa de Todas feminist group confirmed to AFP that Cortez was “free.”

Cortez fell pregnant to her stepfather, who allegedly raped her repeatedly over a seven-year period.

She has already spent more than a year and a half behind bars awaiting trial.

The case took a dramatic turn when prosecutors changed the charge against her from homicide to “abandonment and neglect.”

“We know that Imelda didn’t commit any crime,” one of Cortez’s lawyers, Keyla Caceres told AFP earlier.

The premature birth was discovered after Cortez sought hospital treatment in April 2017 for a hemorrhage.

Doctors examining her took out the placenta.

Cortez said she’d felt something come out of her when using the bathroom.

Police and soldiers inspected the septic tank at Cortez’s house and found a crying baby “covered in feces and white dust,” according to legal authorities.

The baby was taken to hospital and survived.

El Salvador has some of the toughest anti-abortion laws in the world, banning the process even in cases of rape or when a mother’s life is at risk.

Caceres said Cortez was representative of “girls and young adolescents whose human rights are completely violated” by the country’s unforgiving abortion laws.


Thanks for reading The Tico Times. We strive to keep you up to date about everything that’s been happening in Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we need your help. The Tico Times is partly funded by you and every little bit helps. If all our readers chipped in a buck a month we’d be set for years.

Support the Tico Times

You may be interested

Citing value of art, Culture Ministry criticizes budget cuts
Arts & Culture
3 views
Arts & Culture
3 views

Citing value of art, Culture Ministry criticizes budget cuts

Alejandro Zúñiga - October 21, 2020

The Culture Ministry (MCJ) on Tuesday criticized a budget cut that it says will have “significant impacts” on Costa Rica’s…

Costa Rica’s million-raptor watch site
Environment and Wildlife
6525 views
Environment and Wildlife
6525 views

Costa Rica’s million-raptor watch site

Robin Kazmier - October 21, 2020

During the months of September, October and November in the skies near Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, an incredible natural phenomena…

Arrest warrants issued for founders of Panama Papers firm: report
Business
2135 views
Business
2135 views

Arrest warrants issued for founders of Panama Papers firm: report

AFP - October 21, 2020

Germany has issued international arrest warrants for the two founders of the firm at the centre of the tax haven…