Morocco: 24 Face Trial in Nordic Hikers’ Slayings

Tour guide Rachid shows the sight Thursday Dec. 20, 2018, where he says one of the women where found in the murder of two Scandinavian hikers whose bodies were found at a camp in Morocco's High Atlas mountains, about 10 Km (six miles) from the remote village of Imlil, Morocco. The victims found Monday Dec. 17, are confirmed as Maren Ueland from Norway and Louisa Vesterager Jespersen from Denmark, and four suspects have been detained in connection with the deaths. (Hege Pauline Hovig / NTB scanpix via AP)
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SALE, Morocco (AP) — Twenty-four people went on trial Thursday in Morocco on terrorism charges for the brutal slaying of two Scandinavian women hikers that was then shared on social networks.

Gema Guervos, left, mother of Spanish-Swiss suspect Kevin Zoller Guervos, and his wife, right, stand outside a court room after a trial session for suspects charged in connection with killing of two Scandinavian tourists in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, in Sale, near Rabat, Morocco, Thursday, May 16, 2019. Twenty-four people have gone on trial on Moroccan terrorism charges over a brutal killing of two Scandinavian women hikers that rocked Denmark, Norway and Morocco itself. (AP Photo/Mosa’ab Elshamy

The 24 were brought to the court in the coast city of Sale in armored vehicles and did not speak at the hearing, which focused on pleas from lawyers. They include the four men accused of the killing itself and others suspected of links to the attack or the attackers.

The trial of the killing of 24-year-old Louisa Vesterager Jespersen of Denmark and 28-year-old Maren Ueland of Norway is expected to run for months, according to Hafida Makssaoui, the government-appointed lawyer representing the four chief suspects.

She told The Associated Press that her clients, aged 25-30, have pleaded guilty and regret their actions. However she expects they will get a death sentence over the December attack

The suspected attackers’ leader, Abdessamad Ejjoud, was arrested when preparing to join so-called Islamic State in Syria, Iraq and Libya. His lawyer said he also had links to extremist group Boko Haram in West Africa and was trying to recruit Sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco.

Khalid El Fataoui, the lawyer representing the family of the Danish victim, says the family intends to seek material compensation from the Moroccan state because the suspects do not have the means to pay damages.

The court decided to include the Moroccan government as a civil party to the case.

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