Andrea Campione

Andrea Campione

Andrea Campione was born in Senigallia on November 4, 1983. He had been living in the province of Pesaro, regularly working at a frame plant, and he held a middle school diploma.
He was arrested on the 23rd of April 2012 on the charge of translating and sharing online documents and materials useful to train in the use of weapons and explosives, with the specific aim of conducting a terrorist attack. Campione was part of a network of people, most of whom were Italians converted to Islam, who subscribed to the radical version of Salafism, supporting the violent principles of jihadism. Particularly relevant in his network was Jarmoune Mohamed, to whom he sent the “Jihad Encyclopaedia”. The latter was arrested in March 2012 on the same charges as Campione and suspected of planning an attack on a synagogue in Milan. Another member of the network was Barbara Farina, the wife of a former imam expelled from Italy due to his praises of jihad. After the conversion, Campione adopted the name Abdul Wahid As Siquili.
Campione and his network came under scrutiny of Italian authorities especially for their activities on the website called “minbarsos.com”, where jihadist propaganda was rife. The website was managed by the couple composed by Moez Garsallaoui and Malika El Aroud.
The former had been sentenced in-absentia to 6 months in prison in Switzerland for having supported a terrorist organisation, and in 2007 joined jihadi efforts between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he was likely killed by a drone strike in 2012. The latter was the former wife of one of the two suicide terrorists that on 9 September 2001 killed the anti-Taliban Afghan general Ahmad Shah Massoud.
Campione, among others, was very prolific in searching for and subsequently sharing radical Islamist or jihadist documents and writings justifying violence and terrorism against “infidels”, going as far as supporting those theories viewing civilians as valid military targets. As he learned Arabic, he would often translate these documents in Italian. In fact, through his communications, it emerged that he thought that if jihad was the “supreme act of adoration”, knowledge of the faith was a juridical and religious duty of the jihadist. In his and his associates’ view, the Italian ummah was lacking in terms of theoretical knowledge of Islam. He was therefore conducting what has been called “jihad of the word”.
Many of his conversations focused on these philosophical and doctrinal issues regarding the role of knowledge in jihad, and on the legitimacy of “martyrdom operations” (suicide attacks) as well. Interestingly, in Campione’s actions, the al-Qaeda doctrine on the necessity of religious knowledge on the part of militants, marries ISIS’ methodology of “cyber-jihad”, where action is conducted primarily online. Suicide attacks were one particular interest of Campione. On May 9, 2010, he posted a comment stating the legitimacy of suicide attacks under Islamic law on a forum managed by Cristina Lacquanti, alias Mujahida Amatallah. The woman, disagreeing with Campione, first started a discussion on the forum, and later censored his post. In an effort to avoid censorship and possible juridical repercussions, after having debated with his associates and his girlfriend (Cristina Ranuccio), Campione decided to publish two different fatwas (religious edicts), one justifying the use of suicide attacks, and the other stating the opposite, but choosing the second fatwa to have an “unreliable” author, so as to boost the arguments of the former. Campione was aware of the risks of sharing such materials, and he stated he used different accounts so as to throw off investigators. Campione himself for some time managed, along with his girlfriend, a Salafi blog where he shared numerous jihadist documents, many of which authored by Osama bin Laden. However, he closed the blog not long after opening it.
Campione also intensely tried to radicalise other individuals that were getting closer to an integralist vision of Islam. One of these individuals was Paolo Battaglia, to whom Campione sent a document stating that “terrorism” is part of Islam. Another individual, Giuseppe Fonte, told Campione of his intention to go to Pakistan to contribute to jihadist efforts there and possibly become a martyr, but Campione reportedly viewed him as still inexperienced and not ready to conduct jihad. Some of his other associates, including his girlfriend, expressed worries over his overly-exposed activities, reaffirming nonetheless how they shared his same ideas. Farina, after having discussed this issue with Ranuccio, directly told him to be “smarter” about the way he shared his messages. In July, he uploaded a very short video on YouTube on the “compulsory” nature of terrorism.
In August 2010 Campione sent to Barbara Farina, Luca De Martini, and Anthony Antolini a file containing an edition of the al-Qaeda published magazine “Inspire” (the same edition was discovered in Jarmoune’s laptop). The magazine in question contained detailed instructions on how to manufacture bombs, use weapons, and other useful security advice on how to effectively conduct terrorist operations.
In September he wrote to his then ex-girlfriend Ranuccio, telling her he had lost his job and that he desired going to Afghanistan, expressing the wish of “sacrificing all of himself” for his faith, indicating the intention of becoming a martyr. On September 3, he contacted other members of his network asking if there was any “brother” wanting to make the trip with him.
After Jarmoune’s arrest in March 2012, Campione distanced himself from radical positions in the correspondence with his associates, likely knowing that the authorities were investigating him. Meanwhile, he hastened his departure, buying plane tickets for Morocco for the 25th of April. This prompted the police to proceed to his arrest. During the interrogations, he tried to say that his interest in topics of terrorism was purely academic.
Arrested at the request of a Judge of Cagliari, he remained in prison and then under the regime of house arrest until April 19, 2013. In early 2014, he moved to Cambridge to look for a job. He was judged on June 21, 2016, and found guilty of terrorist training, so he was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months of prison. While already having served his time prior to the sentence, in 2017 he was suspended from his job at Oxford University after they knew of his precedents. On February 2, 2018, the court of Appeal of Cagliari confirmed his sentence, and on March 6, 2019, the Court of Cassation rejected his last appeal, confirming the previous courts’ decisions.