IWMF Alarmed by Jailing of Moroccan Journalist Hajar Raissouni
The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) condemns the imprisonment of Hajar Raissouni, a Moroccan journalist sentenced to one year in prison on charges of premarital sex and obtaining an abortion. Despite the charges, human rights observers believe Raissouni was targeted in an attempt to suppress critical coverage of government authorities, an alarming violation of press freedom.
After her arrest in August, Raissouni was questioned about her political writing for the daily newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum, one of the country’s few independent news outlets. The paper has previously been subject to numerous threats from authorities, including sentencing Akbar Al Yaoum’s founder and publisher, Taoufik Bouachrine, to 12 years in prison. Raissouni appeared on the One Free Press Coalition’s October list of the 10 most urgent press freedom cases, curated by the IWMF and the Committee to Protect Journalists, and compiled by Forbes.
Gendered charges, such as the ones leveled against Hajar Raissouni, are often used to silence female journalists. The IWMF calls on Moroccan authorities to drop all charges against Raissouni and her fiancé, and to cease attacks against journalists in the Kingdom.