A Victim Not Only of Unjust Laws, but of ‘Unjust Authorities’

A Victim Not Only of Unjust Laws, but of ‘Unjust Authorities’


While studying to become an engineer, to please her father, she secretly pursued a career in journalism, writing under a pen name and giving math lessons to support her writing. She started contributing to Akhbar Al Yaoum in 2016, after stints with other newspapers. She now writes about human rights and politics, and in March received an award for her coverage on illegal immigration.

The newspaper, with fewer than a dozen reporters, has been in existence for only a decade, but its journalists have been dragged into court on a regular basis. Last year, the paper’s founder and publisher, Taoufik Bouachrine, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on sexual assault charges, in a prosecution that the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded was politically motivated. The sentence was increased to 15 years in an appeal trial last month.

Ms. Raissouni says she is not sure she is ready to resume her career, preferring to take time to recuperate from the ordeal and the aftermath of the intense exposure. She still retains the signature composure she demonstrated throughout the trial: relaxed, funny and sarcastic, while never showing fear. And she says she is still determined to denounce human rights abuses — perhaps even more so.

She says she emerged from the experience feeling closer to her husband than ever. She met Mr. al-Amin — who fled Sudan for his criticism of the since-deposed president, Omar al-Bashir — on the campus of a university in Rabat only a few months ago, and they were drawn together by their common passion for politics and human rights.

They used to argue about human rights in Morocco, which he considered far more respectful of them and justice than his home country. He sees things differently now, she said, so they have moved on to arguing over a Gandhi quote that hangs on their wall in the living room next to photos of Nelson Mandela. “Victory attained by violence,” it reads, “is tantamount to a defeat for it is momentary.”

“We disagree about Gandhi,” she said. “I am not saying that violence should be the response to violence. But you can’t smile and write articles. You have to take to the streets and protest.”

And they have one other serious point of contention in Oum Kalthoum, one of the Arab world’s most beloved singers.



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