RABAT, Oct. 31 (Reuters / EP) –
An appeals court in Morocco has confirmed the death sentence against three men accused of murdering two Scandinavian tourists in December and has issued the same sentence against a fourth suspect who had been sentenced in a lower sentence to life imprisonment.
The crime occurred in December, when Danish Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, and Norwegian Maren Ueland, 28, were heading to Mount Tubkal, the highest summit in Morocco and a popular destination for mountaineers. They were killed inside their tent, in an isolated area near Imlil.
Two of the defendants, Abdessamad Ejjoud and Youness Ouziyad, have acknowledged in court that they beheaded the victims, while a third, Rachid Afatti, recorded the attack to spread it on the Internet. The fourth man, Abderrahmane Khiali, was also part of the group, but left before the murders took place.
The defendants had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group several days before the crime. Although capital punishment is legal in Morocco, the Maghreb country has maintained a moratorium on executions since 1993, so the death sentence will not be applied.
Another 20 suspects who, according to the Prosecutor's Office, were also related to this cell have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from five to 30 years.