Morocco: Last Court Hearing of Suspects in Murder of Two Scandinavian Hikers
The suspects involved in the killing of two Scandinavian tourists in the High Atlas Mountains appeared on Thursday before a criminal court in the city of Salé (near Rabat). This is their last hearing before the court’s ruling.
A total of 24 persons, including a Spanish-Swiss convert to Islam, are facing several charges including promoting terrorism, forming a terrorist cell and premeditated murder. Three main defendants, accused of direct involvement in the murders, could face capital punishment.
The murder of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, a 24-year-old Danish student, and her Norwegian friend, Maren Ueland, 28, sent shockwaves across the country and trigged unprecedented chain of solidarity with the families of the victims.
This horrible crime, committed last December, was unanimously condemned by all components of Moroccan society, including Govt officials, political parties, artists, NGOs, media outlets, sportsmen, local communities, academics, intellectuals, foreign tourists …
Moroccan authorities captured quickly the killers involved directly in the appalling double murder. Aged between 25 and 33, the jihadists pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in a video made a week before their crime.
Moroccan investigators believe the main defendants acted on their own initiative, despite their allegiance to the ISIS terror group. They had no contact with the jihadist group in conflict zones.