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Sentenced to one year in prison a Moroccan journalist for abortion and extramarital affairs

September 30, 2019

The only case of abortion admitted in Morocco is that of risk to the mother, although only in the case that the husband agrees


Moroccan journalist Hayar Raisuni and his fiance, Amin Refat, have been sentenced on Monday to one year in prison each for a crime of “illegal abortion” and “non-marital sex.” The only case of abortion admitted in Morocco is that of risk to the mother, although only in the case that the husband agrees.

The Rabat Court of First Instance has also sentenced two years in prison and 500 dirhams (46 euros) of fine to the doctor who performed the abortion, who will be unable to practice for two years. The doctor's assistant has been sentenced to 8 months of suspended prison and the anesthetist, to one year of suspended prison.

Raisuni works for the independent newspaper 'Ajbar al Yaum'. She was arrested on August 31 with her fiance, Amin Refat, after leaving a doctor's office in Rabat. The doctor and two other people who worked at the clinic were also arrested for having performed an abortion.

The defense has denounced during the trial that after being arrested, she was taken by the Police to the University Hospital of Rabat, where she suffered against her will and out of any legal procedure a second medical opinion intervention of an “extreme violence to make her confess” on acts of his private life unrelated to the case, reports the Maghreb edition of The Huffington Post.

For his part, the prosecutor has denied the political nature of the case and has ensured that his detention and prosecution “has nothing to do with his profession.” “It is due to his visit to a clinic … and the information obtained by the judicial police about the usual practice of abortions in that place,” he said. “These acts constitute criminal offenses under criminal law, namely: the practice of abortion and the acceptance and participation in abortion by third parties,” he said.

The journalist has denied the charges and in a letter published by her newspaper on September 4 reports that she was questioned about her ideas and political writings. Raisuni published in May a series of interviews with Ahmed Zefzafi, father of Naser Zefzafi, leader of the Hirak el Rif protest movement.

He has also published critical articles with the authorities and the director of the newspaper he works for, Taufik Buacrín, was sentenced to twelve years in prison for political crimes in November 2018. In addition, he claims that the authorities intend to intimidate his uncle, Suleiman Raisuni , Human Rights activist and journalist.

Raisuni was taken to a police station and on September 2 she was presented to the Prosecutor's Office and formally accused of maintaining relationships outside of marriage and “consenting to an abortion.”

The Rabat Prosecutor's Office revealed on September 5 the results of the medical expert tests, which is a “scandalous violation” of their privacy, and reported that the clinic was being monitored for these abortions.

Amnesty International has asked even before the sentence is known to immediately release Raisuni and the other three detainees, as International Law reflects the right to personal and bodily autonomy of women, including the free choice of their sexual and reproductive life. “The criminalization of health services that only women need, such as abortion, implies gender discrimination,” said the NGO.

“This case is a stubborn reminder of how urgent it is the repeal of Moroccan laws that criminalize sex outside of marriage and abortion. These rules violate several rights of women, including the rights to personal and body autonomy, the right to non-discrimination, to privacy and to health, “Morayef has argued.

“Instead of intimidating Hayar Raisuni by prosecuting her for unfair crimes, the authorities should release her immediately and unconditionally and withdraw all charges against her and the others involved in this case,” added Morayef.