Morocco prosecutor seeks death penalty for Imlil terrorists

Prosecutor calls on court not to be lenient with three men accused of killing two Scandinavian women hiker in Imlil region.

SALE - A Moroccan prosecutor is seeking death sentences for three men accused of killing two Scandinavian women hikers in a terrorist attack in the Imlil region in the High Atlas Mountains.

In closing arguments Thursday, prosecutor Khalid El Kerdoudi told the jury that "we can't be lenient toward these human beasts."

The main suspects confessed to killing 24-year-old Louisa Vesterager Jespersen of Denmark and 28-year-old Maren Ueland of Norway in December.

The men, who allegedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group, are all from the Marrakesh region near the site of the killings, which shocked the North African country.

Abdessamad Ejjoud, a 25-year-old street vendor, is the alleged leader of the group. He had been jailed for trying to join IS in Syria but was released in 2015.

Younes Ouaziyad, a 27-year-old carpenter, and 33-year-old street vendor Rachid Afatti have also been named as key suspects.

They recorded the slayings and posted the video online.

They said they also planned attacks on synagogues and churches.

Also on trial are 21 people accused of providing the men funding or training. They face prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life, if convicted.

Lawyers for the women's families are seeking damages from the Moroccan state.

Nature lovers Jespersen and Ueland shared an apartment and went to Norway's Bo University where they were studying to be guides.

They had travelled together to Morocco for their Christmas holidays.

Their lives were cut short in the foothills of Toubkal, the highest summit in North Africa, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the city of Marrakesh, a tourist magnet.