The public prosecutor on Thursday, September 5 said that the legal action against Raissouni is unrelated to her profession but linked only to illegal abortion.
Rabat – Amnesty International has issued a statement to condemn the arrest of journalist Hajar Raissouni. On Friday, September 6, the NGO called on Moroccan authorities to immediately release the journalist.
“The Moroccan authorities must immediately release and drop all charges against journalist Hajar Raissouni, who has been accused of having an abortion and having sex outside of marriage,” Amnesty International said.
The journalist, who works for Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum, will stand trial on September 9 for illegal abortion and sexual relations outside marriage.
NGO stated that the arrest of Hajar is unjust.
“The arrest of Hajar Raissouni and four others is completely unjust and these allegations are an outrageous invasion of her privacy,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Morayef said that Raissouni’s case is a “stark reminder of the urgent need to repeal Morocco’s laws criminalizing sex outside marriage and abortion.”
Morocco, a Muslim country, criminalizes both abortion and sex outside marriage.
The NGO, however, is calling for Morocco to change this law to give women the freedom to make their “own sexual and reproductive decisions.”
Police also arrested the doctor and his two assistants for practicing and participation in abortion.
Raissouni’s case divided public opinion. While some expressed concerns about traditional Fatiha marriage, others expressed sympathy and denounced the campaign of defamation against the journalist.
Amnesty International wrote that the journalist recently conducted a set of interviews with Ahmed Zefzafi, the father of Hirak Rif activist Nasser Zefzafi. The NGO added that some of the Raisssoun’s work was critical of Moroccan authorities.
Morocco’s public prosecutor at Rabat’s Court of First Instance, however, refuted that Raissouni’s arrest was linked to her profession.
“The legal proceedings against a journalist, who was arrested recently along with others including a physician, are not related to her profession but are based on facts linked to abortion,” said the public prosecutor on Thursday, September 5.