Outlaws is a campaign that comes after the arrest of Hajar Raissouni, a journalist charged with having sex outside of marriage and an abortion, both crimes in the North African kingdom. Morocco saw it as “another example of the government persecuting critical journalists and activists by charging them with moral crimes” (NYT). We published a campaign to ask Morocco to change the Article 490 in the Penal Code that punishes sex outside wedlock. I have designed the entire identity for the campaign, in social media and print, as well as overviewed the English versions, originally written by Leila Slimani and Sonia Terrab. As we started receiving spontaneous testimonies from the community, the campaign was extended to invite all to tell their stories in their own words. The pressure it created resulted in freeing Hajar Raissouni on October 16, 2019.

Translated Manifesto

We are violating unfair and obsolete laws. We are having sex outside of wedlock. We are suffering, enabling or being complicit of abortion. We learned to deal with it and pretend. But for how long? Every day, every hour, while hiding, behind closed doors, women like me, men like you, conservatives and progressives, public personalities and anonymous citizens, from all backgrounds and all regions, we dare and take upon ourselves, enjoy and exist for ourselves, break our chains and ignore the laws. Because of love. Every day, I feel guilty for loving and being loved. Every time a woman is arrested, I am an accomplice. I tell myself: “It could have been me…” Then I stay silent, I try to forget and move on…But I cannot do it anymore. I cannot stand it anymore. Because my body belongs to me. It does not belong to my father, my husband, my entourage, nor the eyes of the men in the streets, and even less so, the State.
Today, I want to end the circle of shame. I, who loves, aborts, has sex without being married.

I, who hides. I, who risks disgrace, infamy and prison. This culture of lies and social hypocrisy generates violence, arbitrariness and intolerance. These laws, hostile to freedom and inapplicable, have become tools of political and personal revenge.

It is a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads reminding us all: “Your life does not belong to you”. How can we accept this? Why should we? Over and over again…

In 2018, in Morocco, 14,503 people were prosecuted, under the Article 490 of the Penal Code, which punishes sexual inter-course outside of wedlock. 3048 people were imprisoned for adultery. Every day in our country, between 600 and 800 unsafe abortions are carried out.Should we cage all these people in prison? Their “accomplices” (doctors, activists) too?

We believe that Moroccan society is ready for change, for the respect of privacy and the right to be in charge of our own body. Our society and our country deserve that.

We call on our leaders, our decision-makers and our legislators to show courage, to take this step forward, by engaging in a national debate on individual freedoms.

It is not a luxury; it is not a favor; it is a necessity.

How can we promote the fulfillment of our youth, how can we illuminate the right involvement of women in our society, how can we truly engage our country towards progress in human development, if our individual freedoms are not respected, if our dignity is knocked down, if we all remain nothing but outlaws?All outlaws, until the law changes.


Le Brief.ma
Le Desk
Le Parisien
Al Aoual
Moroccan World News
Mujeres marroquíes fuera de la leyRTVE
VOA Afrique
El Confidencial
France 24
France Inter
The World News
Spain’s News
El Pais
Media 24
Portail Sud Maroc
Actu Orange
Le Devoir
Le Vif
Jouj Media
Sud Ouest
Le Quotidien
La Libre Afrique
Le Monde