Sakher Tarek

Sakher Tarek is an Algerian citizen arrested in 2016 together with the two brothers Antar Hossameldin Mostafa Abdelhakim and Antar Hakim Moustafa Abdelhakim, along with Hosny Mahmoud El Hawary Lekaa for terrorist association with the organisation known as ‘Islamic State’, or ‘Daesh’, which aims to carry out acts of violence for the purposes of international terrorism. The investigation carried out by the Anti-terrorism Section of the ROS of Carabinieri of Genoa as part of the so-called ‘Taqiya’ investigation.

Sakher Tarek, aged 34 at the time of his arrest, was living in Tradate (Varese) and was unemployed. He has been in Italy with his brother Sakher Redoune, with previous convictions for drug trafficking, and married to a woman from Bergamo, Michela L.

The police investigations led to the identification of an Egyptian group, organised on a family basis and stationed between Liguria and Lombardy, which was spreading jihadist material on the web and channelling soldiers from North Africa to Syrian territory (and also to Libya) on behalf of the self-styled ‘Islamic State’ (Daesh). The propaganda and proselytising work was carried out exclusively on the Internet, not only through confidential channels but also, using pseudonyms and fictitious accounts, on the most popular social media. he material, disclosed to numerous contacts, was partly obtained directly from al-Hayat Media Center, the official propaganda organ of the self-proclaimed ‘Islamic State’. The monitoring services made it possible to document the confidential sharing of the oath of allegiance (bay’ah) to the caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

It was actually Sakher Tarek who requested by means of a Facebook chat to Antar Hossameldin the oath of allegiance to the Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and subsequently ‘posted’ it on the web as well as expressing his readiness to carry out a terrorist attack. In fact, as it appeared from the information notice issued by the Anticrimine Section of Genoa on 17 October 2016, the wiretapping activity against the defendant Sakher Tarek was inspired by the contents of a chat recorded on 16 May 2016 on the computer used by the defendant Antar Hossameldin, from which it appears that the user of the Facebook profile ‘Aba Rokaya Al Ansari’, asked Antar Hossameldin for an image containing the oath of allegiance to the caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It is worth recalling that the oath is the formalisation of membership of IS with consequent readiness for direct action. This request received a positive response from Antar, who, after a web search, sent a screenshot containing part of the oath in question.

On 8 October 2016, the Minister of the Interior ordered the expulsion of the brothers Sakher Tarek and Sakher Redouane both for their adherence to Islamist religious extremism and for their manifest intention to carry out an attack in Europe or Italy. On the basis of the deportation decree and the content of certain conversations, the public prosecutor ordered the detention of Sakher Tarek on 25 October 2016. At the hearing to validate the arrest, Sakher Tarek exercised his right not to answer.

It must be emphasised that Sakher Tarek did not confine himself to expressing his ideological adherence to the criminal programme of the Islamic State terrorist group (a sharing which is evident from the contents of the films and messages found in his mobile phone), but participated in the criminal association, making himself available to the association to achieve its criminal ends, both through the oath of allegiance to the caliph al-Baghdadi – requested from Antar Hossameldin and then made public on his Facebook profile – and through a strenuous search for individuals who could help him carry out a terrorist attack or in any case join the army of the Islamic State. Eloquent in this regard are the voice messages exchanged in August and September 2016 between Sakher and such ‘Abo Ahmad Al Jazairi’ and ‘Mountassir’, subjects who have direct contacts with other Islamic State militants.

– Abo Ahmad Al Jaiziri: “…I talked to the brothers of the “Masoulin Attafjirat fi Europa” (i.e., the Explosion Executors in Europe) so that they could help you…I gave your credentials to the Brother…they will contact you…”;
– Sakher: “I did not want to talk to another brother because I wanted this thing to remain secret…I am in the midst of these kuffar every day I would like to make carnage out of them…I swear I am tired”;
– Sakher: “I wonder what I have done wrong not to be among these whom Allah has chosen…may Allah bring us to what we desire…”;
– Mountassir: “hopefully soon brother…we were also a part of those people who love Jihad and all of us are part of those who have sworn an oath to the Islamic state…you however try to be optimistic, you will see that Allah will help us. .”.

Such participatory behaviour (the pledge of allegiance to the caliph published on Facebook, the planning of terrorist attacks), insofar as it is part of a framework of conduct characterised by clandestineness (for example, Sakher suggested to Mountassir by message to change his Telegram image) and in a series of relations with persons certainly connected to the Islamic State, appear to be supported by the awareness of contributing to IS’s intention to carry out acts of violence for the purposes of international terrorism. Sakher in the course of his spontaneous statements did not deny his contacts with members of the Islamic State, asserting that he had acted (as an undercover agent) with the aim of acquiring information on ISIS to pass on to the authorities and thus obtain a residence permit.

In 2017, the court in Genoa sentenced Sakher Tarek to six years’ imprisonment under Article 270 bis of the Penal Code, with deportation from the country to be applied at the end of his sentence. In 2018, the Court of Appeal of Genoa reduced the prison sentence to 4 years.