gabar group

Tahir Yaseen

On May 4, 2022, the Tribunal of Genova ordered a precautionary measure consisting of a pre-trial detention for fourteen individuals under investigation for having breached art. 270 bis comma 2 c.p. of the Italian Criminal Code, having promoted, set up, organised and managed an association for the purpose of terrorism. The DIGOS investigation centred around Tahir Yaseen, born in Pakistan on September 8, 1998, and arrested in Chiavari on June 7, 2022. Yaseen is considered the mastermind and ringleader behind the Italian branch of the terrorist association Gabar as well as the main recruiter.
Tahir Yaseen came to Italy in 2015, two years later was granted the status of political refugee and was living in Chiavari. He disclosed that he is a Punjabi Muslim belonging to the Bhatti clan, affiliated with the Swami Tehrik political party and that he had been accused of murdering people during a demonstration in 2014. The judge’s decree reveals that Yaseen was first arrested in April 2019 for aiding and abetting illegal immigration into France but managed to escape an arrest in November 2020 which resulted into being signalled by the French police to the Schengen Information System because of his involvement with terrorist-related activities. Yaseen’s phone records and wiretapped conversations expose his belonging to the Gabar Group Paris France, a network which also includes Zaheer Hassan Mahmood, the Pakistani-born man who carried out a stabbing attack on September 25, 2020, in Paris. Gabar has been defined as an organised network originated in Paris with a precise hierarchical structure and branches established in various countries such as Italy, France, Greece, and Spain. According to the DIGOS investigation, the network’s headquarters were in Genova, in the San Benigno neighbourhood. The group’s slogan can be roughly translated into “lions attack without making any noise, wolves cry out for everything”. Although the court documents fail to reveal Yaseen’s radicalisation path, we can nonetheless identify his belief system and ideological stance – and thus Gabar’s core values and mission – in the teachings of Khadim Hussain Rizvi, rooted in the fight against blasphemy through violence and martyrdom.
Yaseen’s propaganda and proselytism on social media began in April 2020 and he first manifested the intention to join Gabar since June 2020, as testified by a video in which appeared his cousin Manzoor Shujar and Khan Munawar. A month later, the Facebook page Gabar Group Italy was created and later on Yaseen would create the Facebook page Gabar Group France. Yaseen was then arrested on February 22, 2021, at the Gare Saint Lazare in Paris and a machete almost identical to the one used by Zaheer was found on him. On April 19, 2021, he was released and returned to Italy, moving to Fabbrico; this episode coincides with his idea of creating a Gabar branch in Italy, calling it “his greatest mission” while trying to find a suitable lair from which the group could operate and buy firearms as soon as his friend Nadeem Raan would be out of prison. Wiretapped conversations reveal Yaseen’s violent nature as well as a sense of belonging to the group and a sense of devotion and respect towards Raan. Since then, Yaseen began recruiting people, as evidenced by the meetings he had in his house in Fabbrico, while continuing the propaganda activity on his social media channels. Some of his Facebook friends are Irslan Raza, Gabar group leader; Zaheer Hassan Mahmood, the Paris attacker, and his half-brother Hassan Bilal; Hamza Ali, investigated after the Paris attack, as well as all other suspects of this investigation. Yaseen is also friend with Rizvan Ali Warrich, arrested during the Spanish operation “Sakina” and belonging to a group of Pakistani followers of the fundamentalist preacher Sheik Khadim Hussain Rizvi.
An escalation of violent content can be found within the videos and photos posted and shared by Yaseen in which various Gabar members and Yaseen himself expressed their aversion towards the West and towards blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad. Aggressive tones were used and sometimes participants seemed to be under the influence of drugs; they often appeared with knives and machetes, making the cut-throat gesture and singing songs which incited to violence. However, as the Paris attack brought Gabar under the spotlight, Yaseen started being more cautious when talking to the phone, he felt paranoid about getting caught and advised other Gabar members to be careful when mentioning the group, and was often vague when talking about future plans and propaganda materials.
Because of his involvement with Gabar, Yaseen was arrested in Reggio Emilia on June 7, 2022. His pre-trial hearing was held on May 30, 2023 while the trial began on September 22, 2023. He was sentenced to 7 years in prison by the court of Genoa at the end of March 2024.