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Rep. Bass Statement on the Release of Hajar Raissouni

October 18, 2019
Press Release
WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, issued a statement regarding the release of Hajar Raissouni in Morocco.

"I would like to commend King Mohammed VI for pardoning Hajar Raissouni, her fiancé, and Dr. Jamal Belkeziz for an alledged abortion allegation that Ms. Raissouni denied having.

"I am committed to human rights for all and disagree with the persecution or imprisonment of anyone because of their personal beliefs. The silver lining for this dark incident is that an open dialogue about the dated laws in Morocco is now taking place, creating a growing demand to repeal the illegalization of non-marital sex from the legal system.

"I believe this release instills new hope for the citizens of Morocco and opens up the political and cultural space where dialogue can take place around sensitive issues. It also shows that civil engagement and activism can yield results.  Fayrouz Yousfi, a Moroccan doctoral student and political activist displayed this by using an online campaign to help free Ms. Raissouni. 

"Again, I am very happy that Ms. Raissouni and others were released and hope the Moroccan government, civil society, and other activists, continue the dialogue around human rights and press freedoms."