According to Al Yaoum24, police arrested the journalist on August 31 in a gynecological office in the capital with her fiance, a gynecologist, an anesthetist, and a nurse.
Standing in court in Rabat on September 2, the defendants refuted the allegations, as reported by AlYaoum24, an online media company owned by Akhbar Al Yaoum. The gynecologist reportedly told the judge that Raissouni had had a hemorrhage that required immediate surgery.
“We did not perform any abortions. I made an urgent intervention,” said the gynecologist, according to AlYaoum24.
Raissouni told the court that she had been married to her fiance, a university professor of Sudanese nationality, in a religious ceremony, and was only waiting for documents from the Sudanese embassy to formalize the union expected to take place in two weeks.
Raissouni also clarified that she was not arrested in the doctor’s office. She affirmed that six police officers in civilian clothes surrounded her asking if she had just left the gynecologist’s office accusing her of having had an abortion.
“They then dragged me up into the doctor’s office,” says the journalist.
The defendants will remain in custody until the second hearing, taking place on September 9. “The case file contains no concrete material evidence of the abortion charge,” according to AlYaoum24.
The defense of the doctor also mentioned a medical report in the file. The medical check-up done on the journalist at the hospital Souissi in Rabat when in custody proved that she had not undergone any abortion.
“Expertise at the University Hospital Ibn Sina, at the request of the judicial police, confirmed Raissouni’s medical state,’ according to AlYaoum24.
Abortion in Morocco
Abortion in Morocco is illegal. However, article 453 in Morocco’s penal code stipulates that abortion is not punishable if it is practiced to preserve the mother’s physical health in case of a medical threat. In this case, abortion can be openly practiced with the spouse’s authorization.
It is both illegal to carry out an unauthorized abortion as a doctor, and for a pregnant woman to undergo the unauthorized procedure.
In 2016, the Moroccan government agreed in principle to change the law to also legalize abortion in the cases of rape, incest, situations where the mother has serious mental health issues, or when the fetus has a serious illness or malformation. However, since then, Parliament has taken no steps to change the law.