brigande karlito

Brigande Karlito

On 26 April 2017, the Court of Assizes of Rome concluded proceedings against the Macedonian citizen Brigande Karlito (second identity: Maquelara Vulnet), born in 1975, inflicting on the accused an eight-year prison sentence, and condemning him to the expulsion from Italy upon expiation of the sentence.

Brigande was convicted of being involved with the terrorist organization called ISIS, operating in Iraq and other countries, and he had been recruited in its cadres by the Tunisian citizen Barhoumi Firas.

The investigation made use of telephone, electronic and environmental interceptions, and of data extrapolated from Brigande’s cellphone, all of which were transcripted and translated by appointed experts.
It also utilised documentation acquired after the search-and-seizure operations carried out on 2 November 2015 at the defendant’s home, on the occasion of his arrest for extradition purposes issued by the Macedonian Court of Gostivar, following allegations of serious bodily injury, illegal possession of weapons and explosive material, and assault on a public official.
Further documentation was found on 11 March 2016 on the occasion of the execution of the precautionary custody order against him and Barhoumi Firas, during the search carried out in Brigande’s cell at Regina Coeli prison.

Upon his arrest on 2 November 2015, in his dwelling were found various manuscripts in Arabic, a sheet with handwritten phrases praising Allah (in Arabic and translated into Italian), and some sheets with various contact details of Barhoumi Firas (i.e.: telephone numbers, emails, Skype and Facebook contacts).
In his mobile phone were found videos in Arabic and photographic images in which Brigande and other subjects were portrayed wearing camouflage and in the act of holding weapons of war; also, significant contacts were detected between Brigande and Barhoumi, while the latter was in Iraq, on war territory.

The investigator – interrogated during the hearing – helped the Court to focalise on the various indicators of Brigande’s recruitment performed by Bahroumi Firas and of his participation in the terrorist organization ISIS, starting from 2015.

The investigator made reference to a former imprisonment shared between the two in Velletri (RM) in 2014, for the crime of drug trafficking, and to a document with Barhoumi’s contact details which was delivered to Brigande and which bore on the back the Islamic profession of faith present on the DAESH flag. These contact details, together with references to emails and social network profiles, allowed the identification of the Tunisian Barhoumi as an already wanted international terrorist.
Barhoumi’s telephone number was used in various contacts between the two and his Facebook account showed images ascribable to ISIS. Some missives were evidence of a close correspondence between the two while Brigande was in prison.

Afterwards, when Barhoumi left Velletri prison he was not fully released but associated to a CIE (i.e.: Center for Identification and Expulsion), and only later, on 30 July 2015, expelled to Tunisia.
By mid-October he would also have the possibility of reaching Iraq, as found upon examination of IP addresses.
Barhoumi showed also some somatic signs of progressive radicalization, such as the longer beard and the appearance on his forehead of the so-called “zabiba” (raisin), or prayer callus, which is the mark which forms after the numerous prostrations made in sign of prayer, by kneeling and placing one’s head on the ground.

On the basis of the analysis of computer data, relevant documentary sources were found, including various photos of Barhoumi wearing a camouflage suit, embracing a rifle and a RPG grenade launcher.

Such images were exchanged between Brigande and Barhoumi on 20 October 2015, when the latter told Brigande, who had immediately before told him that he was preparing to come as soon as possible, that he (Barhoumi) was planning an operation (i.e. a car bomb attack), which however could be postponed pending the arrival of Brigande.

Other photos instead portrayed Brigande himself during the period of his militancy in the UÇK (known in English as Kosovo Liberation Army) and these same photos were transmitted to Barhoumi on the occasion of the Telegram audio exchange on 20 October 2015. The investigator also recalled that Brigande himself confirmed his militancy in the UÇK during a conversation in prison with his partner.

On 9 September 2015 Brigande was released from prison. On 19 October Barhoumi, after several attempts made on 27 September by Brigande to contact him, called him and gave him another contact. The large volume of correspondence between the two therefore took place on 20 October via Telegram, with the exchange of the aforementioned photos and of mutual audio messages.

The investigator then referred to a series of internet searches, reconstructed through the web history of his phone, carried out by Brigande on keywords referring to Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Koran, ISIS, and on how to eliminate his own traces from Google search results.

From them, his desire to try to reach Iraq in some way was evident. The theme of transit through Turkey appeared in the exchange between Brigande and Barhoumi on 20 October, where it was mentioned that Turkey, a country open to tourism, allowed for peaceful transit and first contacts with people who, through the country, could facilitate the reaching of Syria and Iraq, territories of interest to DAESH.

Brigande was fully aware of the transfer and its purpose, (i.e. the carrying out of destructive and violent terrorist actions), and his will to reach Barhoumi and engage in those acts was firm.
His trip would have been carried out with the help of a friend of Brigande’s who came from France, a certain Kurtishi, who in fact reached the former at his home but was then arrested for possession of false documents and then extradited to Macedonia.

In conclusion, having established ISIS’s consolidated terrorist nature, having taken into account the repeated confirmatory precedents of a personality addicted to violent acts and oppositional towards the Authorities, and having also considered the seriousness of a conduct heralding extreme danger for the community and the institutions of various countries, Brigande Karlito was convicted, with the aggravating circumstance of transnational crime. Subsequently, the Supreme Court confirmed the conviction.