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Morocco: Arrest of Journalist in Ethical Case Sparks Controversy

Morocco: Arrest of Journalist in Ethical Case Sparks Controversy

Thursday, 5 September, 2019 - 10:00
Photo from Hajar Raissouni's Facebook Page
Rabat- Latifa Larousni

The National Union of Moroccan Press (NUMP) deplored Wednesday the defamation campaign against a Moroccan journalist who was arrested in an ethical case, which sparked controversy in Morocco.

NUMP, in a statement, said some media platforms are disrespecting the profession’s ethics, and called for combating such practices.

Hajar Raissouni, a journalist for Akhbar Al Yaoum newspaper, was arrested on Saturday on charges of illegal abortion.

According to Alyaoum24 website, an online media company owned by Akhbar Al Yaoum, Raissouni was arrested as she left the gynecological clinic accompanied by her Sudanese fiance. The doctor and two of his assistants were detained.

They were all placed in custody until trial next Monday. They are facing charges of corruption, abortion, and contributing to an abortion.

Raissouni denied the charges while the doctor following her case said before the examining magistrate that the journalist came to his clinic in a critical condition, Alyaoum24 reported. She was bleeding and required urgent surgical intervention, added the doctor.

The website, further, published what it claimed to be a medical report for Raissouni during the pre-trial detention and the report proves that she didn’t undergo an abortion. Some media platforms spoke about circumvention in the report's results.

Activists and politicians reacted to the news, launching a hashtag demanding her release. Some said that she was arrested because of her writings, especially that she works for Akhbar Al Yaoum and Alyaoum24, owned by Taoufik Bouachrine who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for human trafficking and sexual assault.

Among these victims are journalists who used to work at his institution.

However, Bouachrine and those sympathizing with him insist that he was prosecuted because of his writings and his anti-government political stances.

Some activists expressed solidarity with Raissouni for what she is undergoing from defamation and privacy violation.

The Moroccan League for Citizenship and Human Rights (LMCDH) criticized the defamation campaigns targeting the staff of Akhbar Al Yaoum and Alyaoum24, and demanded to form a national front to face these violations against opinion writers.

In a statement, LMCDH considered that arresting Raissouni is part of this campaign.

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