Paraguay police arrest stepfather for raping ten-year-old daughter

Man arrested in Paraguay for raping his ten-year-old stepdaughter

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Paraguay police say they arrested a man for raping his 10-year-old stepdaughter on Saturday.

The girl was diagnosed as pregnant when she was admitted to hospital for stomach pain last month and accused her stepfather of raping her.

The suspect, Benitez Gilberto Zarate (42), was wanted since he fled following the accusation against him.

Zarate denied the accusations and requested a DNA test for the unborn child to support his claims.

The girl’s mother was arrested earlier for breaching her duty of care.

Paraguayan authorities have rejected the abortion demand for the 10-year-old girl last week raising controversy and leading to critics towards the country's strict abortion law.

Paraguay’s health ministry says the pregnancy does not pose any danger to the girls life, which is the only condition to allow abortions in the predominantly Catholic country.

"There are no indications that the girl's health is at risk ... we are not, from any point of view, in favour of terminating a pregnancy," the Health Minister Antonio Barrios told Paraguay's ABC newspaper.

Human rights groups criticized the decision as the Amnesty International describing it as “torture.”

"Forcing this child to carry a baby to term, against her will, could have devastating health consequences," Amnesty's Americas Deputy Director Guadalupe Marengo said in a statement.

“The Paraguayan authorities cannot sit idly by while this young rape survivor is forced to endure more agony and torment,” said Marengo.

Minor pregnancy is an important problem in Paraguay as the government says two births in everyday occur among girls aged 10 to 14 in Paraguay, many of which are the result of sexual abuse by relatives and stepfathers.

A United Nations report which released in 2013 showed in developing countries 2 million girls under age of 14 give birth, which on many occasions lead to long-term injuries or deaths.

The report estimated complications from young pregnancies and childbirths claim about 70,000 adolescent lives per year.

TRTWorld and agencies