Three Moroccan men accused of beheading two Scandinavian women back in December were sentenced to death last week.
The two victims, 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland, and 24-year-old Dane Louisa Vesterager Jespersen were both students from the University of South-Eastern Norway and had taken a hiking trip to Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains during the holiday season.
Their beheaded corpses were later found in the small, high-altitude town of Imlil near Mount Toubkal.
The accused are 27-year-old Younes Ouaziyad, 33-year-old Rachid Afatti, and 25-year-old Abdessamad Ejjoud.
The three men sentenced to death had pledged their allegiance to the terrorist organization deemed the Islamic State of Levant and Syria shortly before committing the crime and filmed their gruesome act of beheading the two victims on their mobile phones.
The fourth assailant, Kahiali Abderahman, fled the scene before the crime was perpetrated, but has been handed a life sentence nonetheless.
Nineteen other men were also handed sentences ranging from 5 to 30 years due to purported ties with the three primary accused and other rogue militant organizations spread throughout the Middle-East.
Additionally, the court also ordered the three men to pay a sum of 2 million dirhams, or about $200,000, to Ueland’s parents, whilst the prosecution’s demand for a sum of 10 million dirhams, or about $1,000,000, from the Moroccan government itself remains on hold as of yet.
The case, and subsequent sentencing, mark the first instance since 1993 where the country will conduct an execution, as was expressly stated by Ueland’s parents before the court in a statement as their goal for bringing justice to their daughter.
The incident also comes as a grave shudder to the otherwise thriving and expansive Moroccan tourism industry, for which the Northern African nation relies on more than 10% of its economy.