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Moroccan journalist pardoned in abortion case

MOROCCAN journalist Hajar Raissouni was pardoned by King Mohammed on Wednesday after she received a conviction for having an abortion and extramarital sex with her fiance.

She was sentenced to a year in prison last month, along with her fiance, a doctor and two of his colleagues, who were also pardoned.

Morocco’s Justice Ministry described the royal intervention as “an act of compassion and mercy.” But the case drew widespread anger and criticism from rights activists.

Abortion and sex outside of marriage are illegal in Morocco, but according to the Moroccan Association for Abortion Rights, between 600 and 800 terminations took place last year.

Over the same period, 41 people were charged over illegal abortions, according to a report from the prosecutor’s office.

Activists claimed Ms Raissouni was targeted because of her work as a journalist for a newspaper critical of the Moroccan state. Her uncle is also a prominent Islamist.

She was detained leaving a clinic which was under police investigation for conducting terminations. Ms Raissouni denied having an abortion and said she was being treated for a blood clot.

While in custody she was subjected to medical checks against her will and quizzed about her work at the newspaper, as well as her uncle.

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