On September 19, the court also rejected the journalist’s request for a temporary release.
Rabat – The Court of First Instance in Rabat postponed the controversial trial of Hajar Raissouni, a detained journalist. Raissouni has been in custody since August 31.
The court postponed the trial to September 30 after several hours of hearings late at night on Monday, September 23.
During the court session, the judge gave Raissouni the opportunity to talk about what she has experienced since her arrest at the end of August.
Police arrested Raissouni for illegal abortion and premarital sex changes. They arrested her on her way out of a doctor’s office.
During yesterday’s hearing, the journalist said that she suffered severe pain when she was forced to undergo an intrusive medical examination to determine if she had had an abortion.
“The [medical examination] that was done to me without my consent was painful,” she said.
She also condemned the publicization of the case on social media. Raissouni also reiterated the public prosecutor’s statement denouncing the discussion of her personal life in media outlets.
On September 5, the Public Prosecutor of the Rabat Court of First Instance issued his first statement on the case, emphasizing that the journalist was arrested for illegal abortion and that the arrest was in no way connected to her journalism.
The prosecutor also said that he regretted having been urged to publish this clarification and does not want it to be considered normal practice.
The prosecutor added that this is a case that should have been discussed, proved, or denied before the court.
On September 19, the same court ruled against Raissouni’s request for a temporary release pending trial.
The court’s attorney general reiterated at Monday’s hearing that the journalist’s arrest was not motivated by her professional activities, Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported.
A debate emerged after the Raissouni’s arrest. Moroccan activists and feminists are now signing a Manifesto launched by Moroccan female writers and activists. Leila Slimani and Sonia Terrab posted a manifesto on Monday, September 23 to express solidarity with the journalist.
The manifesto also seeks to criticize Morocco’s laws criminalizing sexual relations and abortion.
“We are violating unfair and obsolete laws. We are having sex out of wedlock. We are suffering, enabling or being complicit of abortion. We learned to deal with it and pretend. But for how long?” reads the starting paragraph of the text.
The 28-year old journalist, who writes for the Arabic-speaking daily Akhbar Al Yaoum, faces up to two years imprisonment. Morocco’s penal code criminalizes both sex outside marriage and abortion in cases where imminent danger to the mother’s life cannot be proven.