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Morocco: Prosecution Demands Death Sentence for Murderers of Scandinavian Tourists

Morocco: Prosecution Demands Death Sentence for Murderers of Scandinavian Tourists

Friday, 25 October, 2019 - 11:30
Security measures taken upon the arrival of the accused to Salé Court of Appeal, nearRabat, on Thursday, October 24, 2019 (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Morocco’s Public Prosecution has demanded “upholding and executing” the death sentence against three key suspects in the murder of two female Scandinavian tourists in December 2018.

The demand came during a session that lasted until late Wednesday ahead of the Appeals Chamber of the Salé Court of Appeal, near Rabat.

At the sixth hearing of the appeal phase, the prosecutor requested changing the sentence against the fourth main defendant in the case, Abderrahim Khayali, 33, from life to death sentence.

Khayyali, a plumber who had accompanied the three alleged assailants but left the scene before the murders happened.

Defense pleadings will continue on October 30 before the Court of Appeal renders its judgment.

Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, a 24-year-old Danish student, and her friend Maren Ueland, a 28-year-old Norwegian, were savagely killed while camping on an isolated site in the High Atlas Mountains.

The three main defendants pleaded guilty, and on July 18 the court sentenced Abdessamad Ejjoud, 25, Younes Ouaziyad, 27, and Rachid Afatti, 33, to death after being convicted on charges of murder and forming a terrorist gang.

The prosecution has called for jail terms of between five years and life for the 21 other defendants on trial since May 2.

The court sentenced Kevin Zoller Guervos, a Spanish-Swiss convert to Islam, to 20 years for joining a “terrorist group.”

The Public Prosecutor also sought to uphold the convictions of between five and 30 years in prison for 20 other defendants, aged between 20 and 50.

These were charged with “forming a terrorist cell, praising terrorism and not reporting a crime” although the majority of those defendants denied the charges.

In his plead before the court, representative of the Public Prosecution noted the seriousness of the “terrorist schemes planned by members of this cell in Morocco after they were unable to join ISIS in hotbeds of tension abroad.”

He stressed that they targeted foreign tourists, a church and a synagogue in Marrakech, in addition to targeting security forces and seizing their weapons.

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