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Moroccan journalist jailed for premarital sex and procuring abortion

 Activists protest against the sentencing of Hajar Raissouni (Photo: Reuters)

A journalist in Morocco faces jail time after being charged with having premarital sex and procuring an abortion.

Hajar Raissouni who works for an independent newspaper in the country’s capital Rabat denied the charges saying that she had sought the doctor’s help because she was suffering from internal bleeding. She claimed that she was targeted because of her stand against the authorities.

The prosecution, on the other hand, claimed that it was not Raissouni’s work that got her arrested. They added that the clinic she visited had been under suspicion for providing abortions which are illegal in Morocco.

Following her arrest, she was interrogated and forced to submit to a gynaecological exam. According to reports from her supporters, the tests showed low levels of pregnancy hormones which should have been enough to prove her innocence. Even so, the court sentenced her to a year in jail.

Raissouni was with her fiancé, a Sudanese national, when she was arrested.

Human rights observers spoke up against the sentencing saying that the charges were made-up and were meant to shame Raissouni and deter others from speaking up against the authorities. Raissouni famously covered civil unrest that took place in the north of Morocco.

Her fiancé was also sentenced to a year in jail and her doctor to two.

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