The Salvadorian government recognized a judgment issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in 2021 against it on the case of Manuela, a woman who died in jail while serving a 30-year sentence for abortion.
The IACHR judgment declares the Salvadoran State responsible for the violations of the judicial guarantees, integrity, freedom, and the right to equality before the law of Manuela and her family, for whom 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 Decriminalization of Abortion President Morena Herrera stated, arguing that the Salvadorian State has not asked forgiveness from the victim’s relatives.
In 1997, Salvadorian lawmakers voted to ban abortion without exception on religious grounds. Since then, thousands of women who suffer obstetric emergencies in this Central American country have been accused of aggravated homicide.
Imelda Cortez, b.1998, El Salvador. Rape survivor, wrongly imprisoned as a teenager after a miscarriage because police suspected an abortion. Imelda became pregnant as a result of being raped by her 70 year old stepfather. Imelda was freed today after 17 months in detention. pic.twitter.com/R9KkpKTwzS— Woman’s Place UK (@Womans_Place_UK) December 18, 2018
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 lymphoma. The Inter-American Court asserted that he received late and irregular treatment while she remained in custody.
"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.