By Helene Fung
A court in Morocco has sentenced three Islamic State supporters to death after an 11-week-long trial of 24 suspects, for killing and beheading 24 year old Danish student Louise Vesteranger Jespersen and 28 year old Norwegian Maren Ueland, who were on a hiking trip in the High Atlas Mountains last December.
Twenty-five year old street vendor and underground imam Ejjoud Abdessamad, 27-year-old carpenter Ouziad Younes and 33-year-old Rachid Afatti all admitted to the killings. Ejjoud and Ouziad both asked for “God’s forgiveness” in their final statements in court.
Prosecutors and netizens had been calling for the death penalty for all three, even though Morocco had not held any executions since 1993.
The prosecutor called the three “bloodthirsty monsters”, and drew attention to an autopsy report which found 23 injuries on Ms Jespersen’s decapitated body, and seven injuries on Ms Ueland’s body.
Defence lawyers have slammed the verdict as “cruel and unacceptable”, and plan to appeal the sentence.