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Moroccan editor in pre-trial detention over sex claim

Raissouni's niece has also had run-ins with the law (Getty)

Date of publication: 26 May, 2020

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A Moroccan judge placed the head of an independent daily newspaper in pre-trial detention for suspected sexual assault, his lawyer said.
A Moroccan judge on Monday placed the head of an independent daily newspaper in pre-trial detention for suspected sexual assault, his lawyer said.

Soulaimane Raissouni, 48, editor of Akhbar Al-Yaum, was arrested on Friday after allegations published by a young man on Facebook. The complainant, an LGBT activist, was subsequently interviewed by police.

An investigating judge decided to "place Soulaimane Raissouni in pre-trial detention for the purposes of an investigation into alleged indecent assault with violence and confinement," the editor's lawyer Said Benhommani told AFP.

Raissouni "denies all the accusations against him", the lawyer said.

The complainant declined to comment to AFP.

Raissouni is due to appear in front of the investigating judge on June 11.

Christophe Deloire, head of media rights campaign group Reporters Without Borders, expressed "complete solidarity" with Raissouni on Twitter, eliciting mixed reactions on the social media platform.

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Raissouni is not the first figure from the newspaper to face charges of sexual offending.

Taoufik Bouachrine, the publisher of Akhbar Al-Yaum, was jailed for 12 years after being convicted of rape and other offences in November 2018. Bouachrine denied the allegations against him.

His sentence was lengthened to 15 years in October last year, after an appeal by the public prosecutor.

In response to criticism of their handling of that case, Moroccan authorities said the trial met international standards and that the justice system was independent.

Raissouni's niece, a reporter, has also had run-ins with the law.

Arrested and convicted in an illegal abortion case, Hajar Raissouni was eventually pardoned after her conviction, which she described as political.


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