Reporters Without Borders (RSF) supports imprisoned Moroccan newspaper editor Souleiman Raissouni’s request for hospitalisation to receive the treatment he urgently needs after announcing his decision to end the hunger strike he pursued for 118 days.
The editor of the Arabic-language newspaper Akhbar al Yaoum, Raissouni is extremely weak after nearly four months on hunger strike. He has lost more than 30 kilos, he is suffering from chronic hypertension and he has the onset of paralysis in his right leg due to a neurological disorder.
Although his condition requires both significant medical treatment and psychological support, his request has not yet received any response from the authorities in the Casablanca prison where he is held.
“We fully support the journalist Souleiman Raissouni’s request to the Moroccan authorities to be transferred to hospital for treatment,” said Souhaieb Khayatim, the head of RSF’s North Africa bureau. “We also remind the authorities that this journalist should not be in prison after a trial marked by multiple irregularities.”
Raissouni began the hunger strike on 8 April after a heavy-handed search of his cell in which guards confiscated various items including the honey he had planned to consume while staging a hunger strike. He pressed on with the hunger strike to protest against his continued provisional detention after he had exhausted all possible judicial recourses and to demand his right to due process.
He was sentenced on 10 July to five years in prison on a charge of sexual assault – a charge he has always denied.
Morocco is ranked 136th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index.