Ágnes Geréb, midwife who stood before the judge for engaging in professional misconduct resulting in death and in permanent disability received a 2-year prison sentence. She is also banned from practicing her profession for 10 years.
Ágnes Gereb is a highly experienced gynecologist, midwife and internationally recognized home birth expert, who helped deliver more than 3 thousand babies. The HCLU’s Legal Aid Service provided legal representation and the HCLU continuously advocates for the regulation of home birth in Hungary.
The Justice for Ágnes Geréb Movement and the HCLU are deeply disturbed by the second instance decision. In our opinion, the midwife did not receive a fair trial. Even though a number of leading international experts, including the former president of WHO certified that the midwife did not commit an error, the court did not take these certifications into account and refused to hear them as witnesses.
The court applies a legal double standard: it differentiates between institutionalized birth and home birth. While hospital doctors rarely face criminal charges and are acquitted in most cases, midwives are immediately charged in case of complications during birth.
In other countries, expert committees of obstetricians and midwives investigate and judge cases involving home birth. In Hungary, only the opinions of doctors working in hospitals - who have no experience whatsoever in home birth - are taken into consideration.
‘Ágnes Geréb does not belong in jail. She fought so that women may have free will in deciding whether to deliver their children in a hospital or at home’ - said Andrea Pelle, legal representative for Ágnes Geréb and Head of the HCLU’s Legal Aid Service.
A petition will be submitted and the HCLU and the Movement expect the President of Hungary to grant Geréb immunity and we hope to put an end to the persecution of midwives.