Rabat – The Sale Court of Appeal closed on Thursday, June 20, the hearing of the 24 defendants involved in the killing of two Scandinavian tourists near Mount Toubkal in December 2018.
Six defendants, including one Swiss-Spanish suspect, appeared before the judge at the hearing.
The six defendants denied the charges in the preliminary investigation as well as before the investigating judge.
The defendants are facing charges of “planning terrorist acts” inside Morocco, targeting tourists, police and gendarmerie members, as well as some tourism sites.
The suspects are also facing charges of failing to report a crime, praising terrorism, and the murder of two Scandinavian tourists.
Thursday’s hearing is part of a series of court sessions held since May 2.
Some of the suspects previously appeared in court for hearings on May 16, May 30, and June 13. During the trial sessions, the four main defendants confessed to the charges filed against them.
The list of charges includes: “forming a gang to commit terror crimes and intentionally assaulting the life of persons premeditatedly.” The main suspects will also face charges of inciting people to commit terrorist acts, praising terrorism, and promoting extremism.
The two Scandinavian tourists were beheaded, the Head of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation announced after the murder.
In December 2018, Moroccan police arrested the 24 suspects on suspicion of involvement in the crime. The suspects included the Swiss-Spanish defendant, Kevin Zoller Guervos who pleaded innocent.
Lawyer of the suspects, Hafida Maksaoui, told Morocco World News that the court session of June 20 took place in “very normal conditions.”
Zoller Guervos claims to have broken off relations with the other suspects a year ago now, she said.
While the four main suspects confessed, some of the remaining 20 defendants confessed only to some charges, while others completely deny any involvement in the murder.
The court may announce the final verdict on Thursday, June 27, Maksaoui told MWN.
The lawyer also welcomed the court’s decision to ensure an interpreter for the Swiss-Spanish suspect.
On May 30, Zoller Guervos’ lawyer asked the judge to strike initial interrogation recorded by the police after the initial arrest of his client from the record.
He added that the statement session at the police did not respect the investigation standards as there was no interpreter sworn-in during his statement.
However, during the court session held on May 30, the public prosecutor requested that the initial interview be kept on record, emphasizing that the judicial investigator was speaking in French, the suspect’s first language.
It remains to be seen whether the final verdict will be announced on Thursday.