Hello to all supporters, friends and journalists connected to the Justice for Ágnes Geréb Campaign
Today, 5th October, 2012 marks the 2nd anniversary of the imprisonment (house arrest) of Ágnes. She is held because the State Prosecution continue to believe that she will intentionally repeat the "crime" of assisting at homebirths were she released. As a doctor and midwife who has safely assisted at over 9,000 births in both hospitals and homes Ágnes has found herself since 2010: confined to her apartment; obliged to accept 4 daily police monitoring visits; prevented from stepping outside her front door to feel the sun on her face; or enjoy the fresh breeze on her skin; or visit the garden to touch the earth with her hands and smell the scent of the seasonal flowers. It's an incredible price she is paying for trying to do her job ethically and professionally. For trying to support women's birth choices in a country which, until April last year, had steadfastly failed to provide the necessary legislation to secure this.
This failure to legislate for more than 20 years had provoked Ágnes to step out from her hospital world and offer homebirth services. This failure to legislate meant that any midwife involved in a homebirth incident automatically faced a criminal investigation and Ágnes has suffered unjustly because of this. Even last year's first-time homebirth legislation into Hungary hasn't altered the terrible and unjust fact that licenced midwives still automatically remain subject to criminal investigation when a homebirth incident occurs. Surely it is not right that a highly skilled, internationally renowned midwife as Ágnes can go to the aid of a mother experiencing a precipitated birth and find herself imprisoned from that moment onwards (no trial has yet taken place for the events which have led to this house arrest imprisonment) and with every prospect that it will take at least another year before the courts finally rule on the birth incident(s) in question.
Fortunately, great people and organisations in Hungary and abroad have rallied to the cause of Ágnes and to the rights of birthing mothers which she so strikingly and fearlessly represents. Today, my Hungarian campaign colleagues have released their own national statement (english version at http://www.szuleteshaz.hu/en/730-days/). We now await the decision of the Hungarian President, János Áder, to Ági's requests for clemency to the pending 2 year prison sentence/10 year professsional suspension handed down in February and for the dismissal of all other criminal charges pending against her. There is some cause for optimism that a level of a positive response might be forthcoming, but like Ágnes we must wait and see what, if anything, that might be. His decision is likely to be announced in October.
Recent events like the OneWorldBirth film "Freedom for Birth – The Mother's Revoloution" (see www.freedomforbirth.com) and the newly established website www.humanrightsinchildbirth.com are great developments that feed her indomitable spirit. As does the strength of support coming through from midwifery and human rights organisations throughout the world. And, equally the tens of thousands of ordinary people who support our campaign give daily strength and inspiration to Ágnes.
Today, while you are thinking of Ágnes and the great injustice of her present circumstance both Ágnes and we, the members of her Justice Campaign team, would like to send you sincere and heartfelt thanks for your continue support and interest. I will write further to you once the President has issued his decision.
Warmest regards and sincere thanks
The Campaign for Justice for Ágnes Geréb
Bohužel, maďarský prezident milost Ágnes Geréb neudělil.
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