What happened to Maren in Morocco? Video surfaces online years after tragedy

Video of Lousia and Maren surfaces online 5 years after murder (Image via YouTube/@Disturbed Reality)
Video of Lousia and Maren surfaces online 5 years after murder (Image via YouTube/@Disturbed Reality)

Two Scandinavian women, Louisa Vesterager Jespersen and Maren Ueland, were found murdered near a popular hiking spot in Morroco's Atlas mountains on December 17, 2018. Soon, a video showing the killing of one of the women started circulating online. This video has now resurfaced, 5 years after the tragedy.

Trigger Warning: The following article contains disturbing content. Reader’s discretion is advised.

24-year-old Jespersen from Denmark and 18-year-old Ueland from Norway were students at the University of Southeastern Norway. The pair decided to celebrate Christmas by backpacking on a month-long trip, arriving in Morocco on December 9.

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They had departed from the tourist village of Imlil, a popular starting point for treks to Mount Toubkal, North Africa's highest peak, when they went missing. Their decapitated bodies, along with a destroyed campsite, were found by French tourists.

By December 21, a video surfaced, showing one of them being beheaded, causing widespread shock and distress across Morocco and the globe. Following an investigation, Norwegian authorities stated the footage was "likely authentic." This same video has now resurfaced online, thanks to a Reddit post.


Four arrested for the killing of Maren and Louisa, three of which sentenced to death in July 2019

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A clip of Maren and Louisa's killing was shared on the Reddit forum, r/ClassicDepravities by a user u/jonahboi33, two years ago.

Morrocan law enforcement authorities arrested four suspects in connection with the murders, and nine others were detained by December 21, 2018. However, by May 2019, 24 suspects, including a Swiss national, stood trial at an anti-terrorist court in Sale, close to the Moroccan capital of Rabat.

Three men - Abdessamad Ejjoud, Youness Ouziyad, and Rachid Afatti - received the maximum penalty, despite the country's freeze on executions since 1993. According to Al Jazeera, Ejjoud, a street vendor and underground Imam, and Ouaziyad, a carpenter, confessed to beheading the women, while Afatti admitted to filming their killing on his phone.

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As per Reuters, a fourth man who stated he left the group before the murder was sentenced to life in prison. 20 others linked to the murderers received anywhere between five and 30 years for various crimes, including forming a criminal gang to commit terrorist acts, encouraging terrorism, and undermining public order.

Four primary convicts were additionally ordered to pay 2 million dirhams in reparation to Maren Ueland's family. However, in a shocking twist, Jespersen's family asked the state of Morocco to pay the compensation, saying that the men would not be able to afford it. The Moroccan court turned down the request.


More about Maren and Louisa's murder trial

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Just days before committing the crime, the three primary convicts pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) in a video. However, it is to be noted ISIS itself never claimed responsibility.

At the time, CBS reporter Holly Williams stated that Morocco had experienced very few terrorist attacks but added that several of the state's citizens had joined ISIS. Many suspect this was the case due to the civil unrest in Syria.

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Edited by Upasya Bhowal