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Morocco: Journalist incarcerated over abortion gets royal pardon

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has pardoned a journalist who was sentenced to a year in prison for an illegal abortion and premarital sex.

Rights activists have welcomed the decision adding that she wouldn’t have been locked up in the first place.

Hajar Raissouni was found guilty of charges of “having an illegal abortion and sexual relations outside marriage”.

Others involved in the case are her fiancé, Prof Rifaat al-Amin, who was also given a one-year sentence, and a doctor, Mohammed Jamal Belkeziz, who was given a two year sentence in the same trial for alleged complicity.

The journalist who works for a local newspaper in Morocco was arrested on August 31 as she left a clinic in Rabat, where her lawyer Saad Sahli said she had been undergoing treatment for internal bleeding.

The prosecution insisted she had been seen by a medic and showed signs of pregnancy and of having undergone a “late voluntary abortion”.

The prosecution insisted that her detention had nothing to do with her profession as a journalist given that Raissouni works for Akhbar al Yaoum, an independent newspaper critical of the Moroccan government.

Reporters Without Borders launched an online petition to get Raissouni released, targeting 10,000 persons. More than 7000 people signed the petition before her release.

The association condemned all meddling in the private lives of journalists and the use of personal information to defame them and the media they work for.

It urged Morocco to respect article 24 of its constitution, which gives everyone the right to privacy.

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