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Murders of Maren ueland and Louisa Jespersen


The murder of Maren ueland and Louisa Jespersen

Maren ueland and Louisa Jespersen
On 17 December 2018, the bodies of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, a 24-year-old Danish woman, and Maren Ueland, a 28-year-old Norwegian woman, were found decapitated in the foothills of Mount Toubkal near to the village of Imlil in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco
Death of Maren ueland and Louisa Jespersen
A total of 18 men have been arrested by Moroccan Police in relation to the murders. The murders were described by the Moroccan general prosecutor as a terrorist act, after a video of several of the suspects were shown swearing allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant while decapitating Jespersen was released on the Internet.

Maren ueland and Louisa jespersen

On the morning of 17 December 2018, a pair of French hikers came across the decapitated bodies of the victims, and their tent, near a trail connecting Imlil to Mount Toubkal.[10] A suspect named Abderrahim Khayali was quickly apprehended following the incident, after police found an ID in the victims’ tent, that had been left behind by the suspect.[11] Three additional suspects, Abdessamad Ejjoud, Rachid Afatti, and Younes Ouaziyad, were later apprehended by the police while riding a bus during the morning rush hour in the nearby city of Marrakesh.[12] The three suspects were caught in possession of bladed weapons. Abdessamad Ejjoud is assumed to be the leader of the group, and the four men had shot a video the week before the murders, where they pledged allegiance to ISIS.[13]The killers had agreed to carry out a terrorist act on either security services or foreign tourists, before deciding to travel to the Imlil region to look for foreigners, and where they would target the two backpackers.[14] In the video of the killings, the attackers can be heard shouting “enemies of Allah”, and “revenge for our brothers in Hajin”.[3]Moroccan police later made additional arrests of individuals believed to have connections with the suspects.[5]TrialeditIn total, 24 went on trial in Salé, near Rabat in Morocco. Of those charged, 23 suspects are Moroccans from Marrakesh, and one is a Swiss-Spanish Muslim convert. Three of them were charged with murder, and the other 23 of various terrorist charges.[7]In May 2019, one of the suspects admitted to killing one of the women. He had previously been jailed for having attempted to join the Islamic State in Syria, and was released in 2015.[7]In July 2019, three of the suspects were given a death sentence, which their lawyer said he would appeal.[15]AppealeditOn 31 October 2019, the death sentence for three of the convicted was upheld by the anti-terrorist court in Salé. In total, 24 suspects connected to the murders, or whom were members of the jihadist cell, were sentenced.[16]The prime suspect, Abdessamad Ejjoud, was 25 years of age and organised the murder expedition with two accomplices, Younes Ouaziyad (27) and Rachid Afatti (33) who filmed the murders. A fourth suspect, Abderrahim Khayali, had his sentence elevated from life imprisonment to the death penalty. Khayali was part of the expedition into the mountain, but left the group before the killings. The court upheld received sentences from 5 to 30 years in prison for nineteen of the accused, and elevated one sentence from 15 to 20 years in prison. Ejjoud used his chance to speak before the sentence to ask for the death penalty, as he believed in neither the laws nor human rights. Ouaziyad and Afatti recited verses from the Quran.[16][17]Like in the first trial, the court ordered the four prime suspects to pay 190,000 euros to the parents of Maren Ueland.[16]The death penalty is still in effect in Morocco. In practice, no executions have taken place since 1993.[16][17]As of 2023, the suspects are still awaiting execution.[18] On 28 February 2023, Abderrahmane Khayali committed suicide by hanging with a piece of cloth taken from his clothes anchored to a window; he was awaiting execution at the local prison in Oujda.

Maren ueland and Louisa Jespersen

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