A Moroccan doctor and his assistant were arrested Thursday for attempting to perform an abortion on a 15-year-old girl, a practice that is illegal in Morocco, police sources told AFP.
The arrest took place in a private clinic in Meknes (north of the country) by agents of the anti-gang brigade of the local police headquarters, according to the same source.
The doctor and his assistant, aged 71 and 64 respectively, were taken into custody, it said.
The teenager and her mother, as well as a woman of their entourage who accompanied them, were placed at the disposal of the judicial investigation, the police source added, without further details.
"A 15-year-old girl trying to end a pregnancy in decent sanitary conditions (...) When will this charade end?", the feminist collective "Hors-la-Loi", which campaigns for the decriminalization of abortion and the protection of individual freedoms in Morocco, protested on Facebook.
"What do they want, that the 15-year-old girl keeps the child? Or that her mother take her to a quack? Or that she ends up committing suicide?" denounced on Twitter Narjis Benazzou, an activist of the collective.
In the kingdom, a woman who has an abortion is punishable by six months to two years in prison, and those who performed the abortion by one to five years in prison.
The only exception is in cases of danger to the mother's health.
Some 600 to 800 clandestine abortions are said to be performed every day in Morocco, according to associations campaigning for its legalization.
In 2015, the country engaged in a wide-ranging debate on the "urgency" of relaxing its legislation in the face of the scourge of clandestine abortions, which are sometimes performed in disastrous health conditions.
An official commission recommended that abortion be authorized in "certain cases of force majeure", notably in cases of rape or serious foetal malformations.
But no law has yet been passed to endorse these recommendations, which were strongly supported by women's rights activists.