Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Teodora sought emergency medical care after having a stillbirth. Despite a lack of evidence, she was accused of having an abortion and charged with “aggravated homicide.” For 10 years, Teodora has been suffering in prison.

Right now, judges are reviewing her case. Add your name to urge them to uphold justice and protect Teodora’s human rights in their decision.

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Honorable Members of the Second Tribunal of Sentence:

We are writing to express our deep concern about the situation of Teodora del Carmen Vásquez, who was unjustly sentenced to 30 years in prison for "aggravated homicide" following an obstetric emergency.

For nearly 10 years, Teodora has been suffering in prison.

Like 23 other Salvadoran women currently being deprived of liberty, Teodora suffered a pregnancy-related health emergency, and without substantiated evidence, was convicted of murder.

During Teodora’s trial, a doctor falsely claimed there was enough evidence to prove aggravated homicide of the fetus by Teodora, and, despite multiple due process violations in her case—such as incomplete and contradictory forensic evidence and a very weak public defense—on February 2, 2008, Teodora was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Although subsequent testimony by medical health professionals concluded that Teodora suffered a stillbirth due to natural causes, Teodora’s sentence still stands.

The human rights violations faced by Teodora, and other women deprived of liberty due to obstetric emergencies, are well documented and have been denounced by numerous human rights bodies. In 2015, seven UN special rapporteurs issued a joint statement condemning the numerous human rights violations that occur when women are prosecuted, imprisoned and convicted for obstetric emergencies.

We ask that during your review of Teodora’s case you take into account the discrimination she faced as a poor woman, as well as the clear lack of evidence for the claim of aggravated homicide.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


“I try to do everything his mother would do, so that he doesn’t miss her so much, but I know he does, I can see it in his face.”
— Teodora's mother, María Sánchez de Vásquez, referencing Teodora’s son