Moroccan Journalist Sentenced to Prison for Abortion and Premarital Sex

3:20 PM Aida Alami 0 Comments

RABAT, Morocco — A Moroccan judge on Monday found a journalist and her fiancé guilty of having premarital sex and obtaining an abortion, and imposed prison sentences on them and a doctor convicted of performing the abortion, in a case that critics have denounced as a thinly veiled bid to suppress critical coverage of the government.

The journalist, Hajar Raissouni, 28, who works for the independent daily newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum, and her fiancé, Rifaat al-Amin, were arrested on Aug. 31 as they were leaving a gynecologist’s office in the Moroccan capital, Rabat.

The defendants denied that an abortion had taken place and said that Ms. Raissouni had sought treatment after suffering a blood clot.

“This judgment comes as a shock,” said Cherki Lahrech, a journalist who was present for the verdict. “The defense proved her innocence. I don’t understand what happened. It all poses many questions.”

The judge sentenced Ms. Raissouni and Mr. al-Amin to one year in prison, and Dr. Jamal Belkeziz to two years. A second doctor and an office assistant were also found guilty of taking part in the procedure, but the judge gave them suspended sentences.

Ms. Raissouni, wearing a black traditional robe known as a djellaba and a head scarf, showed no outward reaction to the verdict, which drew cries and gasps from others in the courtroom. Several of her friends huddled nearby afterward, crying and consoling each other, then waved goodbye as she was put into a police vehicle and driven away from the courthouse.

Finish reading the story on the New York Times' website

 

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