King Mohammed VI Grants Royal Pardon to Journalist Hajar Raissouni, other Defendants in the Case

King Mohammed has granted royal pardon to Moroccan journalist Hajar Raissouni who was sentenced on September 30 to one year in prison for undergoing an illegal abortion and having sex intercourse outside marriage.

The Royal pardon was announced this Wednesday Oct. 16 in a statement by the Moroccan Ministry of Justice.

Royal pardon was also granted to the journalist’s fiancé Amin Rifaat who was handed the same sentence, as well as to the gynaecologist involved in the case who was sentenced to two years in prison and banned from practising for two years.

The two other members of medical staff who were handed suspended prison sentence of one year and eight months also benefit from the Royal pardon, the Justice Ministry said.

“This royal Pardon reflects the Monarch’s recognized compassion and mercy and his concern to preserve the future of the two fiancés who planned to found a family in accordance with the precepts of religion and the law, despite the error they may have committed, which led to this lawsuit,” the Justice Ministry added in the statement.

The Moroccan penal code bans sex outside marriage and abortion. Calls for amendments to make laws compatible with Moroccan constitution and the international covenants protecting personal freedoms have always been met with a fierce opposition of Islamists.

Hajar Raissouni’s case has heated the debate within the Moroccan civil society over the need to amend the laws incriminating consensual sex between adults and abortion.

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