Two Scandinavian women, Louisa Vesterager Jespersen and Maren Ueland, were found murdered near a popular hiking area in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco on December 17, 2018. A video showing the murder of one of the women quickly began circulating online. This video has resurfaced now, 5 years after the tragedy.
Trigger Warning: The following article contains disturbing content. Reader discretion is advised.
24-year-old Jespersen from Denmark and 18-year-old Yolande from Norway were students at the University of South-Eastern Norway. The duo decided to celebrate Christmas by backpacking on a month-long trip, arriving in Morocco on December 9.
They had left the tourist village of Imlil, a popular starting point for treks to Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, when they disappeared. French tourists found their decapitated bodies, next to the destroyed camp site.
By December 21, a video emerged showing someone being beheaded, causing widespread shock and distress throughout Morocco and the world. After investigation, Norwegian authorities stated that the footage was “most likely authentic.” That same video has now resurfaced online, thanks to a Reddit post.
Four were arrested for the murders of Marin and Luisa, and three of them were sentenced to death in July 2019
A clip of Marin and Luisa's murder was shared on the Reddit forum, r/ClassicDepravities, by user u/jonahboi33, two years ago.
Moroccan law enforcement authorities arrested four suspects in connection with the murders, and nine others were arrested by 21 December 2018. However, by May 2019, 24 suspects, including a Swiss national, appeared before an anti-terrorism court in Salé, near the capital. Moroccan Rabat.
Three men, Abdessamad El-Joud, Younes Ouziad, and Rachid Avati, received the maximum sentence, despite the country's freeze on executions since 1993. Al JazeeraAl-Joud, a street vendor and underground imam, and Ziad, a carpenter, confessed to beheading the two women, while Afati admitted to filming their killing on his phone.
According to Reuters, a fourth man who said he left the group before the killing was sentenced to life imprisonment. 20 others linked to the killers were sentenced to between five and 30 years in prison for various crimes, including forming a criminal gang to commit terrorist acts, encouraging terrorism, and harming public order.
In addition, four main convicts were ordered to pay two million dirhams in compensation to Maren Hollande's family. But in a shocking development, Jespersen's family asked the Moroccan state to pay compensation, saying the men would not be able to afford it. The Moroccan court rejected the request.
More about the murder trial of Marin and Luisa
Just days before the crime was committed, the three main convicts pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in a video. However, it should be noted that ISIS itself has never claimed responsibility.
At the time, CBS correspondent Holly Williams reported that Morocco had seen very few terrorist attacks, but added that many of the country's citizens had joined ISIS. Many doubt that this is the case due to the civil unrest in Syria.