3 men have been sentenced to death over the murder of 2 Scandinavian backpackers that was filmed and posted online

28-year-old Maren Ueland (L) from Norway and 24-year-old Louisa Jespersen from Denmark (R) were killed on December 18.

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28-year-old Maren Ueland (L) from Norway and 24-year-old Louisa Jespersen from Denmark (R) were killed on December 18.
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Facebook/Maren Ueland, YouTube/ Louisa Jespersen

Three men in Morocco have been sentenced to death over the murders of two young Scandinavian women who were brutally murdered while backpacking in the country last year.

Abdelsamad al-Joud, Younes Ouziad, and Rashid Afati were convicted of murdering Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway, in a remote area of Morocco’s High Atlas mountain range in December, CNN reported. A fourth man, Abderrahmane Khayali, was sentenced to life in prison.

The women’s bodies were found beheaded at a campsite on December 17 near the Moroccan village of Imlil, a popular hiking and trekking destination.

Their deaths were recorded on video and posted online.

The three men who were sentenced to death had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a video made three days before the murder.

Jespersen’s and Ueland’s murders were not coordinated with the Islamic State, authorities said, describing the men convicted of killing them as “lone wolves,” according to Reuters.

Read more: Expert says it’s hard to protect the popular tourist area of Morocco where 2 Scandinavian women were recently killed – and it’s become easier for ISIS to operate there

The death sentences for al-Joud, Ouziad, and Afati were announced after several hours of deliberation. Nineteen accomplices were given jail terms ranging from five to 30 years, according to the Associated Press.

All 23 defendants addressed the court asking for leniency.

A lawyer for Jespersen’s family told the Associated Press that he was “100% satisfied” with the sentences. He said Jespersen’s mother had asked the court for defendants to be sentenced to death.

“We obtained what she asked for,” the lawyer said.

Jespersen and Ueland, who studied together at the University of South-Eastern Norway, were on month-long vacation in Morocco when they were killed.

At the time of the women’s deaths, Ueland’s mother said her daughter’s “first priority was safety.”

“The girls had taken all the precautionary measures before embarking on this trip,” she told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

The women were studying “outdoor activities and cultural guidance” at the University of South-Eastern Norway, according to NRK.