Lawmaker Wants Feds to Stop Deportation of Woman Implicated in Man’s Murder
Southland Lawmaker Says Woman Is Victim of Alleged Abuse, Rape, Torture
NBC-4, Mar. 15 (Southern CA)
LOS ANGELES — A Southland lawmaker Monday called on federal authorities to stop the deportation of a woman implicated in the murder of a man later found to have repeatedly raped her.
Rep. Hilda L. Solis, D-El Monte, says Maria Suarez is a victim of abuse, rape and torture.
“The United States is a beacon of light around the world because of its commitment to human rights,” Solis said at a news conference today in East Los Angeles.
“Our government should honor this commitment by recognizing the extreme sexual abuse and violence suffered by Maria Suarez in this country and allow her to stay here with her family,” Solis said. “This is a clear humanitarian case that deserves justice.” Solis said Suarez, 43, was a child sex trafficking victim.
Two weeks after entering the country legally from Mexico when she was 16, Suarez was lured from her home by an unknown woman and sold for $200 as a sex slave to 68-year-old Anselmo Covarrubias, who beat and raped her, Solis said.
Covarrubias held Suarez captive for five years, during which time he raped, battered and tortured her, Solis said.
When neighbor Rene Soto killed the then-73-year-old Covarrubias in 1981 with a table leg, Suarez hid the weapon. She was later convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
After 22 years in prison, Suarez was released in December from the California Institution for Women in Chino.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed to parole her, based on the recommendation by the Board of Prison Terms, which determined Suarez was a victim of extreme violence, abuse and torture.
But Schwarzenegger denied Suarez a pardon, despite pleas from Solis and other California lawmakers who claimed the woman was deprived of a viable defense, since battered-woman syndrome was not considered valid at that time.
Suarez is now in a prison in San Pedro, awaiting a deportation hearing April 23.
She is a permanent legal resident, but not a U.S. citizen, and immigration law says that, with an aggravated felony on her record, she is to be deported.
Suarez’s attorney, Jessica Dominguez, said the woman would be in danger if she is deported to Mexico, where those who are aware that she had something to do with the death of a “witch doctor” would cause her harm.