Norway generally condemns death sentences, but those handed out to three men convicted of having murdered two young Scandinavian women on holiday in Morocco seemed to be well-received on Thursday. A fourth man involved in the murders was sentenced by the Moroccan court to life in prison.
They were convicted of killing 28-year-old Maren Ueland of Norway and 24-year-old Louise Vesterager Jespersen of Denmark while they were on a camping holiday in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains last year. The murders were described as particularly vicious and brutal, with the women attacked in their tent on December 17, 2018.
Defendants ‘showed no regret’
The murderers were also believed to be inspired by extremist Islamic ideology and tied to a terror group. A total of 19 others were sentenced to between five and 30 years in prison.
“The most important thing in this case is that these men be held responsibile,” Khalid El Fataoui, attorney for Jespersen’s family, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Thursday. “They showed no regret and didn’t offer any apologies. We are glad the court ruled as it did, I am personally glad.”
Compensation claims filed
Ragnar Falck Paulsen, attorney for Ueland’s family, told NRK that they are also demanding the equivalent of EUR 150,000 in compensation. The families’ Moroccan attorney, however, demanded even more, the equivalent of nearly NOK 5 million.
“If the families are granted compensation, all the money will go to a foundation set up in Maren Ueland’s name,” Paulsen told NRK. He added that Ueland’s family “had no concrete opinion” on the death sentence, and now need to continue the grieving process over Maren Paulsen’s own death.
Defense attorneys for the Moroccan men filed an immediate appeal. Death sentences are still handed out in Morocco, but NRK noted that in practice, no one has been executed in Morocco since 1993.