World

Groups condemn El Salvador's jailing woman after miscarriage

International human rights organizations are condemning the sentencing of a woman in El Salvador to 30 years in prison after what she said was a miscarriage.

This week a court in El Salvador sentenced 19-year-old Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz following her conviction for aggravated homicide. Associated Press policy is normally not to name victims of alleged sexual assault, but Hernandez has spoken publicly about her case.

Hernandez says she became pregnant after being raped in the small community where she lived, according to her trial statements. She says she did not report the attack out of fear and did not realize she was pregnant.

In April 2016, Hernandez said, she felt strong abdominal pains and lost consciousness in the bathroom. She was taken to a hospital and treated for vaginal bleeding from an out-of-hospital delivery, but there was no newborn.

Authorities opened an investigation and later found the fetus. She was initially charged with having caused in abortion, which is illegal in all situations in El Salvador. The charge was later changed to aggravated homicide.

Hernandez said she did not know she had miscarried. She has been in prison since the incident.

The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights said Friday that El Salvador should not criminalize women who need medical care.