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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Morocco journalist stays behind bars for 'indecent assault'

Morocco has been cracking down on journalists (Getty)

Date of publication: 20 July, 2020

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A Moroccan court has ordered that the chief editor of Moroccan independent daily Akhbar Al-Yaoum remain in custody over charges of "indecent assault" on another man.

A Moroccan court has ordered that the chief editor of Moroccan independent daily Akhbar Al-Yaoum remain in custody over charges of "indecent assault" on another man, his lawyer said Monday.

Soulaimane Raissouni, 48, detained since the end of May, was remanded in a first hearing and the next session is to be held in the western city of Casablanca on September 9, Mohamed Messouadi told AFP.

He is under investigation on charges of "indecent assault with violence and forcible confinement".

The lawyer said Raissouni reiterated his innocence in court and that a petition was filed for his release, a demand backed by rights activists in a petition also signed by three ex-ministers.

Read also: Seasonal Moroccan fruit pickers exploited, sexually assaulted in Spain

The more than 130 signatories allege his case is part of a campaign of defamation targeting journalists and rights activists critical of the Moroccan authorities.

But the plaintiff, who is due to appear at the next hearing, has written on his Facebook page: "The accused cannot be above the law just because he's a journalist."

A niece of Raissouni, Hajar Raissouni - also a journalist - was sentenced last September to one year in jail for an "illegal abortion" and sexual relations outside marriage, but walked free a month later after a royal pardon.

Akhbar Al-Yaoum publisher Taoufik Bouachrine was sentenced in 2019 to a 15-year jail term on charges of rape, human trafficking and sexual assault.

He denied the charges as "fabricated" and politically motivated.

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