Swiss man connected to murders of Scandinavian hikers given terrorism sentence in Morocco

A Moroccan court has sentenced a Swiss citizen arrested in connection with the murder of two Scandinavian hikers to 10 years in prison on terrorism charges, his lawyer said Friday.

Swiss man connected to murders of Scandinavian hikers given terrorism sentence in Morocco
A file photo showing mountains near the village of Imlil in the High Atlas range, the area where the Scandinavian hikers were murdered. Photo: AFP

Kahlil Idriss said the man, identified only as Nicolas P., 33, was convicted Thursday in the city of Sale, near Rabat, in a case unrelated to the double murder.

A dual Swiss-Spanish citizen was among more than 20 people arrested after Danish student Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, and 28-year-old Norwegian Maren Ueland were found beheaded on December 17 in the High Atlas mountains south of Marrakesh.

Nicolas P. was arrested in January for having had contact with the Swiss-Spanish national as well as compatriots with ties to Syria, Idriss said.

He was found guilty of “forming a terrorist group”.

The lawyer said he has filed an appeal on the basis that his client had signed a police report in Arabic without having read it.

The accused told the court he had been paid by Switzerland's secret services for making contact with Swiss terror suspects.

Moroccan authorities allege the four main suspects in the hikers' murders were sympathisers of the Islamic State (Isis) group but not in direct contact with Isis members in Iraq or Syria.

READ ALSO: Suspect pleads innocence over killings of Scandinavian hikers

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Money manager brothers sentenced for laundering marijuana millions

An investment manager was jailed for six months on Tuesday while his younger brother, a banker, received a suspended sentence from a Geneva court after the pair admitted to laundering 12 million euros in Moroccan drug trafficking revenue.

The trafficking involved illegal cannabis transported from Morocco to France.

A 48-year-old man, identified as M., received a suspended sentence of 30 months in addition to the six months of “firm” jail time, the Tribune de Genève reported.

He was arrested in October for using a financial company as a platform for laundering the illegal drug revenues.

A 38-year-old man identified as N., a former investment manager at HSBC in Geneva, got a two-year suspended sentence for playing a secondary role in the financial coverup.

Geneva justice authorities seized four million francs from a bank account and safe of the elder brother, the Tribune reported.

The money was carried across the Swiss border from France in plastic bags.

The pair, who cannot be identified because of Swiss privacy laws, have also been ordered to pay 50,000 francs in costs to the authorities.

The men were involved with a group of at least 17 other people who have been arrested by French police for smuggling pot from Morocco and selling it in France.

Swiss and French investigators cooperated in cracking the case under an operation code-named “Virus” begun last fall.