Hamil Medhi

Hamil Mehdi

Hamil Mehdi was born on 12 August 1991 in Ouled fares, Morocco. In 2006 he relocated to Italy with a regular residence permit and lived in Luzzi, Calabria, with his parents and three younger brothers. He worked as a street vendor with license. He was arrested in January 2016, in execution of a provisional detention order issued by the Court of Catanzaro. According to the accusation, Hamil was an aspiring foreign fighter and wanted to reach Syria to join the Islamic State.
On 10 July 2015 he arrived in Turkey and was stopped by the authorities for a check. The Turkish authorities, in agreement with the officers of the Italian Counterterrorism, rejected him for reasons of public security and sent him back to Italy. When he was stopped, he had a Moroccan passport, a bag containing military trousers, a prayer carpet, a book on the behaviour of a good Muslim published by Muslim Brothers and two telephones. He bought a one-way ticket, had no place to stay in Turkey and had not informed his parents of his journey.
Before his arrest his life was characterized by very little socialization and rigorous observance of the dictates of Islam of Salafist tradition; for example, he wanted to pray in time, did not want to interact with women with Western costumes and beat up his brother for saying on the phone to his girlfriend “my love”. He used to go to the Islamic cultural centre Arahma ONLUS in Cosenza. A witness noticed changes in Hamil’s behaviour in the periods before and after the summer of 2015. Mehdi planned to move to Belgium on 23 September 2015, but renounced a few days before the scheduled departure.
Investigators discovered that he had contacts with people close to Islamic radicalism, such as Anas El Abboubi and Ayoub El Khazzani, and had constantly accessed jihadist websites. Specifically, he watched videos aimed at teaching hatred towards non-Muslims, waging war against infidels and extolling martyrdom. Moreover, he had frequently accessed IS propaganda videos. Some of these videos were also instructive, providing combat training and the preparation and use of explosive materials. In general, he watched numerous videos about the conduct of acts of violence for the purpose of terrorism. He also saw a report on Moroccan citizens who had joined the IS. Because of his computer skills, investigators could not actively intercept his activities.
In February 2016 he was transferred to Rossano’s prison, where he regularly went to the place of worship to pray. Investigators noted that references to jihadism have emerged in some of his dialogues with other prisoners. Also, a prisoner testified that Mehdi was ready to die for IS.
During investigations, he rejected the accusations, claiming that he went to Istanbul to pray and that he had no connection with the Islamic terrorism. As for the viewing of the videos of ISIS, his defence highlighted that the vision, which was due to Hamil’s curiosity, has not been followed by Mehdi’s implementation of what he watched.
Medhi was sentenced to four years and six months. The sentence was confirmed by the Court of Assizes of Appeal of Catanzaro. The Supreme Court overturned the verdict and remanded the case for trial. Finally, he was acquitted of the charge of self-recruitment under Article 270 quinquies of Italian Criminal Code.