Moroccan rights activists on Monday demanded the release of a journalist facing trial on charges of abortion and sex outside marriage, saying her arrest was politically motivated.

Dozens of activists staged a sit-in outside the Rabat court before the first hearing in her trial, chanting: "What a shame freedoms are in danger, what a shame journalism is in danger.

Police detained 28-year-old Hajar Raissouni 10 days ago along with her fiance, a doctor, a nurse and another person accused of involvement. Their lawyers deny she had an abortion.