Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled by the one-year prison sentence that a court in Rabat passed yesterday on Hajar Raissouni, a journalist with the Arabic-language daily Akhbar al Yaoum, on charges of having an “illegal abortion” and “sexual relations outside marriage.”

Held since 30 August, Raissouni has described the charges as “fabricated” and “politically motivated” and says they were above all prompted by her recent articles about persons detained in connection with the so-called “Hirak” protests in Morocco’s northern Rif region in 2016 and 2017.

Repeatedly insisting that she was the victim of a political trial, she also reported that she had been questioned in police custody about her uncle, a well-known Islamist ideologue and outspoken newspaper columnist.

The judicial persecution of Hajar Raissouni is profoundly unjust,” RSF said. “Using the private lives of journalists to put pressure on them is unacceptable. We call for her acquittal on appeal.”

Morocco is ranked 135th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.

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Updated on 01.10.2019