Munifer Karamaleski 1

Munifer Karamaleski

In March 2016, the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Venezia ordered a precautionary measure consisting of a pre-trial detention for Munifer Karamaleski, a Macedonian citizen born on September 11, 1988, on the charge of belonging to a terrorist association and committing violent acts against Syria and Western countries under art. 270 bis of the Italian Criminal Code.
Before leaving for Syria, Karamaleski lived in Chies d’Alpago, in the province of Belluno, was a construction worker married with Ajtena Karamaleska and had three children. The indictment reveals that his parents, Muzafer and Raima, were living in Belluno and he had three sisters, Sela Muslijoski, Sibel and Zehra Karamaleska.
According to the indictment, Karamaleski’s radicalisation happened through the Internet although a key factor was also the meetings he had with his friends in the Ponte nelle Alpi’s mosque. Here, they used to attend the prayer meetings every Saturday or Sunday under the leadership of Jaffar Abu Anass. The group, who formed in 2010, included Vilson Haxhiu; Ismar Mesinovic, a friend of his since 2009; Pierangelo Pierobon, a Muslim converter, and Anass himself, a Moroccan citizen living in Belluno indicted in 2014 on the charge of recruiting Mesinovic and Karamaleski for terrorist purposes. Haxhiu revealed to the police that the group met Ajhan Veapi, the advisor of the Pordenone’s Islamic Centre, in 2012, and the friendship formed would be crucial in Karamaleski’s radicalisation and willingness to leave for Syria. In fact, in 2013 Veapi organised an event in the Pordenone mosque with the Imam Husein Bosnic, from May 31 to June 2. Unlike Mesinovic, Karamaleski did not go to Bosnia with Veapi to greet the Imam and do with them the journey back to Italy because he was working although Karamaleski’s presence during the conference is proven by a photo he took with Bosnic. After the conference and in the following months, Karamaleski and Mesinovic would meet with the Imam several times, including before leaving for Syria, as testified by his brother-in-law Adisen Muslijoski who accompanied them to Bosnia.
In September 2013, Karamaleski got to know Rok Zavbi in Bosnic’s mosque where he was introduced as a war hero whose role was to inform the future foreign fighters about the life in Syria under ISIS and reinforce their radicalisation. From the indictment, it is revealed that Zavbi should have been betrothed to Karamaleski’s sister Sibel but she had refused. Still, Zavbi’s figure positively impacted Karamaleski, his radicalisation and willingness to leave for Syria.
In November 2013, Karamaleski went to Macedonia with his family and once he came back he accompanied Mesinovic and his son to the Treviso airport as Mesinovic was leaving for Germany to buy the van that would later lead them to Syria. Karamaleski and Mesinovic left for Syria on December 15, 2013 and it is very likely they went to Bosnic’s house in Bosnia where they met Zavbi. It was later discovered by a wiretapped conversation between Veapi and his wife that Karamaleski brought his wife Ajtena and his three children to Syria under false pretences as she would not have accepted of her own free will. Moreover, when they left for Syria, another member of the Islamic Centre went with them, Umar Baig, an English man with Pakistani origin and husband of the Pordenone Islamic Centre’s president’s daughter, and it is likely he died between December 2013 and January 2014. Once in Syria, Ajtena told her sister-in-law Zehra that once they had arrived they were stationed in Raqqa and that Karamaleski was in charge of supervising the ghanima, the spoil of war. Karamaleski himself confirmed this statement in several Skype chats with his sister Sibel, informing her that he was paid $200 per month but that he did not have to pay for rent or electricity.
In January 2014, Karamaleski instructed Zavbi to collect €2.700 and bring it to Syria, an event corroborated by Karamaleski’s sister Zehra and Vilson Haxhiu. However, there had been no news from him since November 2016, although his parents believed he was still in Syria. Still, news outlets confirmed Karamaleski had died in Syria on December 12, 2017 and therefore the Court of Venezia dismissed the trial against him.