Danish police prosecute 14 for sharing Morocco hikers ‘murder video’

Danish police on Thursday said they had launched prosecutions against 14 people suspected of sharing on social media the murder video of one of two young Scandinavian hikers killed in Morocco.

Danish police prosecute 14 for sharing Morocco hikers 'murder video'
Tributes placed in Copenhagen in December to the two Scandinavian hikers who were murdered in a terror-linked attack in Morocco. Photo: THOMAS SJØRUP/Ritzau Scanpix

Danish student Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, and 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland were found dead at an isolated hiking spot south of Marrakesh on December 17th.

The pair were stabbed, had their throats slit and were then beheaded, according to Morocco's counter-terror chief.

A video circulating on social networks at the time, believed authentic by authorities, showed one of the murders in the High Atlas mountains.

“The 14 people are accused of violating the penal code by sharing the video — usually via Facebook Messenger or other social networks,” said East Jutland police chief Michael Kjeldgaard in a statement.

Two of them are also accused of apologising for terrorism, the prosecution told AFP.

Six of those indicted, whose identities have not been revealed, are between 13 and 18 years old.

The brutal killings of the hikers shocked the two Scandinavian countries as well as Morocco, where tourism is a cornerstone of the economy.

Moroccan authorities have called the killings a “terrorist” act and charged more than 20 people for their alleged involvement.

The authorities allege that the four main suspects in the murder were inspired by the Islamic State group, but say they were not in direct contact with Isis members in Iraq or Syria.

READ ALSO: Suspect pleads innocence over killings of Scandinavian hikers

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Morocco death penalties confirmed for killers of Scandinavian hikers

A Moroccan anti-terrorist court on Wednesday confirmed death sentences handed down against three men convicted of beheading two Scandinavian tourists last December, and sentenced a fourth man to be executed.

Morocco death penalties confirmed for killers of Scandinavian hikers
Moroccan police stand guard during the trial in Sale earlier this year. Photo: AFP

All four defendants had been convicted at a trial in July, but the fourth defendant was originally sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of the two women, killed while hiking in the High Atlas mountains.

Those sentenced to death included ringleader Abdessamad Ejjoud, a street vendor and underground imam, who had confessed to orchestrating the attack with two other radicalised Moroccans.

They had admitted killing 24-year-old Danish student Louisa Vesterager Jespersen and 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland in murders that shocked the North African country.

Although the death penalty remains legal in Morocco, there have been no executions there since 1993 because of a moratorium, and the issue of capital punishment is a matter of political debate.

The court in Sale, near Rabat, confirmed jail sentences of between five and 30 years against 19 other men, but increased the jail sentence of another man from 15 to 20 years.

The court also confirmed an order for the three men who carried out the killings and their accomplices to pay two million dirhams (190,000 euros) in compensation to Ueland's family.

But it refused a request from the Jespersen family for 10 million dirhams in compensation from the Moroccan state for its “moral responsibility”.

READ ALSO: Convicts appeal in Morocco case of murdered Danish, Norwegian hikers