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Nicaraguan Pro-Choice Advocates Need Your Help

From Ipas Policy via The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health:

Dear friends,

I’m writing to update you on more disturbing news from Nicaragua and ask for your solidarity. First, some context for the situation.

As you may remember, in 2003, members of the Women’s Network against Violence (Red de Violencia contra las Mujeres) in Nicaragua helped a young girl known as “Rosita” obtain a therapeutic abortion, which at the time was legal in Nicaragua. Rosita had been raped and became pregnant at the age of nine. At the time, she said the rapist was a neighbor in Costa Rica; the man maintained he was innocent and he was never convicted of the crime.

In August 2007, the Nicaraguan media reported that “Rosita” had become pregnant again and given birth to the baby, and that the accused rapist was her stepfather. She testified in court that her stepfather had raped her and fathered the child, and he was sentenced to 30 years in prison. She also said that her stepfather was the one who had raped her in 2003.

Last month, we understand that a Nicaraguan anti-choice group with the misleading name, “Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (ANPDH)”, petitioned the Ministry of Justice to bring criminal charges against nine members of the Women’s Network against Violence for obstruction of justice and as accessories to a crime, saying that they had known about the stepfather’s involvement in the case from the beginning and hid that knowledge. The nine women—all well-known in Nicaragua and globally for their tireless work on behalf of women and human rights -- include: Marta María Blandón, Ana María Pizarro, Luisa Molina, Yamileth Mejía, Juana Jiménez, Martha Munguía, Mayra Sirias, Lorna Norori and Violeta Delgado. The exact legal process being used is unclear, since so far none of the women have received legal documents outlining any specific charges. They learned about the charges through a leak from the prosecutor’s office and have received only summons to go to the prosecutor’s office for questioning.

This is another example of a coordinated attack against the women’s movement and against women’s human, sexual and reproductive rights. The outpouring of support for these nine women in Nicaragua and around the region has been tremendous and comes from diverse sources. Attached you’ll find English translations of letters to the prosecutor from the Nicaraguan Feminist Movement, by prominent Nicaraguans who represent many of the political parties (including the ruling Sandinistas and the opposition party), and by other important citizens. The letters condemn the legal action as a persecution of these nine women’s efforts to defend women’s human rights, including the right to therapeutic abortion. These are just examples of the many public pronouncements that have been made in their favor and disseminated through the national media. A few letters in Spanish are also attached.

We encourage you to join this call for support of the nine women named in the suit and condemn the Nicaraguan government’s actions. Letters in Spanish can be sent to the following individuals at the prosecutor’s office and the attached letters can be used as models:

Dr. Julio Centeno Gomez
Fiscal General de la Republica
Fax. 505-2556832
juliocentenogomez@ministeriopublico.gob.ni

Dra.Ana Julia Guido
Fiscal Adjunta
celular: 8696299
Telefono oficina: 2556820
Fax, 505-2556832
anajuliaguido@ministeriopublico.gob.ni

Dra. Mirna Siles
Fical asignada al Caso
Telefono y Fax 505- 2515652
mirnasiles@ministeriopublico.gob.ni

We request that you send copies of any letters to Ipas Central America (espinozac@ipas.org, blandonm@ipas.org, friedbergp@ipas.org)

Thank you for your ongoing support and solidarity.

Charlotte Hord Smith
Director, Ipas Policy

Thanks to Pearl Friedberg and Ipas-Nicaragua staff for compiling this information.


Technorati tags: Nigarauga, abortion, action

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