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Death sentences for IS supporters who beheaded backpackers

Written by on 18/07/2019

Three Islamic State supporters have been sentenced to death for the killings of two Scandinavian backpackers found murdered in their tent in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.

Carpenters Jounes Ouzayed and Rashid Afatti, and street merchant Abdessamad al Joud did not react as the sentences were read out.

A fourth man, Khaiali Abderahman, who fled the scene, has been sentenced to life in prison.

Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, was found in an isolated area. Pic: Louisa Vesterager Jespersen

Image: Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, was found in an isolated area

A further 19 accomplices were given jail terms ranging from five to 30 years.

The bodies of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway were found decapitated in December in the popular hiking area south of Marrakesh.

The men recorded the attack and posted it online.

Ms Jespersen and Ms Ueland were on an unguided trip and camping close to North Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Toubkal.

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The men had all vowed allegiance to the terrorist organisation Islamic State in a video.

All 23 men addressed the court ahead of the verdicts, asking the judge for leniency, while the main defendants asked Allah for forgiveness.

Family and friends follow the coffin during the funeral of Danish student Louisa Vesterager Jespersen at Fonnesbaek Church in Ikast, Denmark on January 12, 2019

Image: Ms Jespersen was found murdered in her tent in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains

In his closing arguments in June, the prosecutor asked the court to sentence the three main suspects to death, and described them as “human beasts”.

A Swiss man, Kevin Zoller, among the accomplices, received a 20-year sentence.

The lawyer for Ms Jespersen’s family, Khalid el Fataoui, said he was “100% satisfied” with the verdicts.

Mr el Fataoui noted that Ms Jespersen’s mother had asked the court in a letter at an earlier hearing this month to sentence the killers to death.

“We obtained what she asked for,” he said.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2019

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