Doctor jailed in maiming of baby in abortion try

June 15, 1993|By New York Times News Service

NEW YORK -- Calling the case one "that shocks us all," a judge has imposed at least a nine-year prison sentence on the doctor who severed the arm of a fetus in attempting an illegal abortion.

The lawyer for Dr. Abu Hayat, 63, said yesterday's penalty of 9 2/3 to 29 years amounted to "a death sentence" for the doctor.

In February, Hayat became the first person since 1981 to be convicted of violating a New York state law prohibiting abortion after the 24th week of pregnancy. A jury also found him guilty of assaulting the baby, Ana Rosa Rodriguez, who survived, and her mother, Rosa Rodriguez. He also was convicted of assaulting another patient, Marie Moise, and of falsifying records to cover his actions.

"This case is extraordinary," said Acting Justice Jeffrey M. Atlas in state Supreme Court in Manhattan. He said it was the loss of the baby's arm "that shocks us all."

In fixing penalties for the eight charges of which Hayat was convicted, the judge could have allowed Hayat to go free on probation, or he could have sent him to prison for as long as 20 1/3 to 61 years. The doctor had no criminal record.

The judge decided that the sentences for the charges related to Ana Rosa Rodriguez and the false records would run concurrently, but that those sentences would run consecutively with those for the charges related to Ms. Rodriguez and Ms. Moise. In doing so, the judge ruled that Hayat would not be eligible for parole until 2002, when he has served the minimum 9 2/3 years.

Hayat, who has grown a beard since his trial, sat with his head lowered and his eyes closed as the sentence was imposed. Speaking publicly for the first time since his arrest in late 1991, he told the judge in a faltering voice, "I know I am innocent."

Earlier, he had told the judge: "I am in a very difficult situation. I know I am not guilty. I know I am not one of the world's best abortionists."

But he added: "I compare myself the best of any of the witnesses. I could teach them."

Jeffrey A. Lichtman, Ms. Rodriguez's lawyer, called the sentence "really fantastic." He said, "That means he'll never get out."

Margaret Finerty, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted Hayat, told the judge before sentencing that Hayat's actions were "especially outrageous and worthy of punishment." Afterward, she refused to comment on the sentence.

Hayat's lawyer, Ronald J. Veneziano, said he would appeal both the verdict and the sentence.

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