The verdict is in for a case that caught the eye of the international community. Marlon and his mother Marlín Martinez were sentenced today after 2 p.m. to 30 and five years in prison, respectively, for the murder of Emely Peguero. She was 16 years old and pregnant at the time of her death.
Prosecutors were seeking 30 years for Marlon, Peguero’s boyfriend at the time of her death, and 20 years for Marlín for complicity in the case.
“We can’t see it as a desperate case, but as someone cold who understood the consequences of his actions,” said Judge Víctor Alfonso Ynoa Gómez, adding that it was a “barbarity.”
When Emely Peguero was assassinated in the Dominican Republic around August 23 of 2017, her case caught the eye of the international community. Right before the #MeToo movement, this story became a catalyst not only for the rights of women in the Caribbean country, but also against corruption in the Dominican Republic. At the time, the Marcha Verde, which galvanized thousands of people in the country against corruption, highlighted the case since many worried that Marlin Martínez’s connections as deputy director of passports and a prominent member of the Dominican Revolutionary Party would mean they’d walk without a fair trial for Peguero—immediately after today’s sentencing, dozens began protesting her 5-year sentence.
The defendants were also ordered to pay RD$20 million to the family of the victim.
The case brought attention to not just to the case of Emely Peguero but to the high number of femicides in Dominican Republic, with many calling it an epidemic. By June of this year, already 40 women had been murdered. The case also sheds a spotlight on strict anti-abortion laws in the Dominican Republic, since Peguero’s cause of death was ruled as induced abortion and a hit to the head. During a hearing, the 20-year old Marlon Martinez admitted to his participation in an abortion that, he claimed, turned into involuntary homicide.
In an interview for El Caribe, Peguero’s mother Adalgiza Polanco said during a past court date, “My daughter one time said, ‘mom, if i die first than you, remember me as I am, sing to me, dance for me…today I know it’s a time for me to dress as a butterfly for her.”
Watch the verdict here: