A Moroccan anti-terrorist court has confirmed the 20-year prison sentence for a Swiss-Spanish citizen accused of playing a role in the beheadings of two Scandinavian tourists last year.
He was among 24 men convicted of “forming a gang with the aim to commit terrorist acts” in connection with the murders committed in southern Morocco in December 2018.
A 24-year-old Danish student and her friend, a 28-year-old Norwegian, were decapitated while camping on an isolated site in the High Atlas Mountains. Their bodies were found near the village of Imlil.
On Wednesday, the court in Salé, near Rabat, upheld the death sentence for the four men who were said to have orchestrated the murders on behalf of the Islamic State group.
The only foreigner in the appeal, Swiss-Spanish citizen Kevin Zoller Guervos, handed the floor to his lawyer to reiterate his innocence. He was arrested in December, suspected of being part of an operation to recruit people to commit terrorist acts in Morocco.
The court also confirmed the sentences handed down to the other defendants ranging from five to 30 years' imprisonment. It increased one man’s sentence from 15 to 20 years.
An earlier demand that the four main suspects pay two million dirhams (CHF250,000) in compensation to the Norwegian victim’s parents was upheld. But the court rejected demands of the family of the Danish victim for ten million dirhams from the Moroccan state for its "moral responsibility".
Earlier this month a second Swiss citizen had his sentence reduced from ten to five years by the Moroccan judiciary. He had been convicted in April on three counts: participation in a terrorist act, supporting terrorism, and withholding information relating to a crime.
According to this lawyer the Swiss, first name Nicolas, was arrested for receiving an e-mail from the dual Swiss-Spanish citizen prosecuted for the double murder. Nicolas was also accused of having had explicit exchanges with other Swiss nationals suspected of having links with Syria.