Morocco prosecutor seeks death sentences in Scandinavian women murder trial

  • World
  • Friday, 28 Jun 2019

FILE PHOTO: Flowers and candles in memory of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen and Maren Ueland, who were killed in Morocco during a trekking trip, are seen at the Town Hall Square in Copenhagen, Denmark December 28, 2018. Ritzau Scanpix/Thomas Sjoerup/via REUTERS

RABAT, (Reuters) - A Moroccan prosecutor on Thursday demanded the death sentence for three suspects in the murder of two female Scandinavian tourists in the Atlas mountains in December.

Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway, were found dead on Dec. 17 near the Moroccan village of Imlil, a popular hiking and trekking destination.

The three men had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a video made three days before the murder. Authorities described them after their arrest as "lone wolves" who had not coordinated the killings with Islamic State.

Last month in a court hearing in Sale near Rabat, two of the suspects, Abdessamad Ejjoud and Youness Ouziyad, admitted to attacking and decapitating the two women, who were staying overnight in a tent in the mountains.

A third suspect, Rachid Afatti, said he filmed the killing. Ejjoud said the video of the murder was shared with other Islamic State sympathizers.

The prosecutor called for life in prison for a fourth suspect who left the group on the day the murder took place.

The prosecutor also demanded prison sentences ranging from 10 to 30 years for 20 other people, who were arrested for links to the main suspects. The 20 face charges including forming a criminal gang to commit terrorist acts, encouraging terrorism, and undermining public order.

(Reporting by Zakia Abdennebi, writing by Ahmed Eljechtimi, Editing by William Maclean)

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