Three Moroccan men were sentenced to death on Thursday for the death of two Scandinavian women in the Atlas Mountains. Maren Ueland, 28, of Norway, and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, of Denmark, were killed in December in their tent close to the popular trekking destination of Imlil, Morocco.
The men had declared allegiance to the Islamic State in a video days before the killing, according to testimony given at previous hearings at the anti-terrorism court in Sale, close to Rabat.
Abdessamad Ejjoud and Youness Ouziyad, two of them, testified in court that they beheaded the women. At the same time, Rachid Afatti, the third, claimed that he videotaped the crime and posted it on the internet.
A fourth man was given a life sentence despite claiming to have left the organization before the killings.
That’s what the men said on Thursday: “May God forgive us,” and one added, “There is no God but Allah” when the judge asked them for their final statements before handing down his verdict.
Hafida El Maksaoui, their lawyer, said she would challenge the verdicts.
According to the prosecution another 20 defendants associated with the killers received sentences ranging from five to 30 years for organizing a gang to commit terrorism, incitement to terrorism, disturbing public order and other crimes.
Except for one Swiss, Kevin Ziller Guervos, who was also accused of recruiting others to join militant groups and was given a 20-year term, all were Moroccan.
The court required the four primary convicts to pay two million dirhams ($209,000) as reparations to Ueland’s family.
The killers wouldn’t be able to afford it, according to the Jespersen family’s lawyers, who demanded that the state pay instead of the killers. However, the court rejected that request and did not issue further payment orders.
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Murders of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen and Maren Ueland
The bodies of Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway, and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmarkdecapitated on December 17, 2018, in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, close to the settlement of Imlil, were discovered at the foot of Mount Toubkal.
Moroccan police have arrested 18 men in connection with the murders. After a video of many suspects was posted online pledging loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as they behead Jespersen, Morocco’s prosecutor labeled the killings an act of terrorism.
Who is Maren Ueland?
Maren Ueland was born in Bryne, Norway, in 1990. Jespersen and Ueland studied outdoor leisure and nature guiding to become tour guides while studying at the University of Southeastern Norway.
According to Jespersen’s motherwhere the two had traveled Morocco on December 9 with the aim of trekking and ‘seeking adventures’.
The two women traveled to Imlil in the Atlas Mountains after initially arriving in Marrakesh. Travelers often use the village of Imlil as their primary starting point when climbing Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa.
Islamists brutally raped and murdered 24-year-old Louisa Vesterager Jespersen and 28-year-old Maren Ueland in Morocco
They falsely reported the ISIS style of execution ‘decapitation’ as only the murder of “neck wounds”
They even criminalized video sharinghttps://t.co/6fy0FnroQt
— Dr Vedika (@vishkanyaaaa) December 28, 2018
Before the bombings, four terrorists posted a video on social media declaring their loyalty to the terrorist organization ISIS and talking about the “damage inflicted by Crusader Alliance aircraft.” Keep fighting the enemies of Allah wherever you are; there is no justification for you. Also know that we are on your side; you have allies among us.
Magnus Ranstorp, a researcher at the Swedish Defense University, claims that terrorists attacking tourists is not a recent phenomenon and its purpose is to destabilize the nation where such attacks are taking place.
While 17 people were killed in a 2011 explosion at a restaurant in Marrakesh, the latest terrorist attack in Morocco, generally viewed as a safe tourist destination, has seen more than 1,600 Moroccans migrate to Syria to join the Islamic State. to close.
Moroccan police initially overlooked the ISIS recruits, but later realized they could return and commit acts of terrorism in Morocco. The Central Judicial Investigation Bureau (BCIJ) was established.
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Murder and Investigation
On December 17, 2018, two French hikers discovered the victims’ decapitated bodies and tent near the Imlil trail to Mount Toubkal. After the event, police soon arrested a suspect named Abderrahim Khayali after discovering an ID that the suspect had left in the victims’ tent.
Abdessamad Ejjoud, Rachid Afatti and Younes Ouaziyad were three more suspects who were later detained by police while on a bus ride in the neighboring city of Marrakesh during the morning rush hour. Stabbing weapons were found on the three suspects. The group’s suspected leader is Abdessamad Ejjoud, and the four men recorded a video of them pledging allegiance to ISIS a week before the killings.
Before going to Imlil district to hunt foreigners and where they would attack the two backpackers, the assassins had agreed to carry out a terrorist attack against security forces or foreign tourists. Footage of the killings shows the attackers shouting “enemy of Allah” and “revenge for our brothers in Hajin”.
Later, Moroccan police arrested people they believed to be connected to the suspects. Follow us on Leedaily.com for more details.