The statement from Human Rights Watch comes after Amnesty International called for the immediate release of journalist Hajar Raissouni, calling the allegations“an outrageous invasion of privacy.”
Rabat – Human Rights Watch (HRW) has issued a statement to condemn the arrest of Moroccan journalist Hajar Raissouni, who is facing charges of “undergoing an illegal abortion and sex outside of marriage.”
HRW said on Monday, September 9 that the arrest of the journalist “flagrantly violate her rights to privacy, liberty, and numerous other rights.”
The NGO also called for the immediate release of the journalist, urging the authorities to drop the charges against her.
Police arrested Raissouni, who works for the Arabic speaking news outlet Akhbar Al Yaoum, on August 31.
According to a statement from the public prosecutor at Rabat’s First Instance Court, police apprehended the 28-year old journalist at the entrance of the building, where a “monitored clinic” is located. The prosecutor said that the police were closely monitoring the clinic for its involvement in conducting illegal abortion.
Raissouni’s trial is set to start on September 9. The journalist risks a sentence of two years if convicted.
Ahmed Benchemsi, Middle East and North Africa Communications Director at HRW said that Raissouni is “being charged for alleged private behavior that shouldn’t be criminalized in the first place.”
Benchemsi also criticized the publicization of “detailed allegations about her sexual and reproductive life.”
“Authorities trampled on her right to privacy and apparently sought to smear her reputation,” he added.
The NGO recalled that police also arrested Raissouni’s fiance, the doctor and his two aides.
In addition to HRW, Amnesty International, public figures, and journalists have expressed sympathy with the journalist.
On September 6, Amnesty International called for Raissouni’s immediate release.
“The arrest of Hajar Raissouni and four others is completely unjust and these allegations are an outrageous invasion of her privacy,” Amnesty International wrote.
The NGO linked the arrest of the journalist with her work as a journalist, stating that Raissouni conducted interviews with Ahmed Zefzafi, the father of Hirak Rif activist Nasser Zefzafi.
The Public prosecutor of Rabat’s Court of the First Instance denied that Raissouni’s arrest was in any way 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.