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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 09 Journalist detained over bogus charge One year in prison for unlawful abortion
FI 121/19-1
Abgeschlossen am 17. Oktober 2019
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17.10.2019 Good news!

Release of journalist Hajar Raissouni jailed after being accused of having an abortion.

For further information please see here

One year in prison for unlawful abortion

AI-Index: MDE 29/1131/2019

On 30 September 2019, Moroccan journalist Hajar Raissouni and her fiancé Amin Rifaat were sentenced to one year in prison after being convicted of abortion related offences and sex outside of marriage. The doctor involved in the alleged abortion was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison, and two other members of medical staff received suspended sentences of one year and eight months respectively.


Under Moroccan law, sex outside of marriage is a criminal offence. Abortion is also criminalized in all circumstances unless the health of the pregnant woman is at risk and her spouse agrees. However, under international law women have a right to bodily and personal autonomy which includes being free to make their own sexual and reproductive decisions. Criminalization of health services needed only by women, such as an abortion, amounts to gender discrimination. This case is a stark reminder of the urgent need to repeal Morocco’s laws criminalizing sex outside marriage and abortion. These provisions violate women’s rights, including the rights to bodily and personal autonomy, non-discrimination, privacy, and health.

In Morocco, journalists and human rights defenders are subject to prison terms for expressing their views peacefully. Prosecutors used disproportionate and inappropriate security-related charges based on offences in the Penal Code and counter-terrorism legislation. The editor of the newspaper she works for Akhbar al-Yaoum, Taoufik Bouachrine, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on politically motivated charges in November 2018.

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