valbona berisha

Valbona Berisha

On 28 November 2016, Judge for Preliminary Investigations of Milan ordered the precautionary custody measure for Valbona Berisha, born in Albania on 18 July 1982, but resident in Barzago, in the province of Lecco, under investigation for association with an international terrorist organisation.
The investigation against her began in December 2014 to ascertain possible involvement of third parties in the removal from Italy of Valbona Berisha and her young son, after her husband filed a complaint on 18 December 2014 for the removal of his wife and son, after vain attempts to trace her by telephone and having noticed the absence of the passports of the two missing persons. Investigations showed that the woman had left with her son on 20 December 2014 from the Orio al Serio airport, bound for Istanbul and then travelled to Syria, near the centre of al-Bab, an area under IS control. The woman, claimed by her cousin to be hit by her husband, had repeatedly stated that she wanted to travel to the area to help the needy in hospital. With the help of police officers from the countries concerned, such as Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania, it turned out that the booking of the plane ticket to Istanbul was purchased by the Serbian citizen Selimoviq Mendush, a foreign fighter who reached Istanbul with his wife Ermira Sekiraqa also on 17 December 2014.
Associated with the Islamic State, her indoctrination and radicalisation took place via the web, culminating in a subsequent marriage in Syria with an unknown man who was also an adherent of the Islamic State. With the help of the same and other direct contacts with exponents of the terrorist organisation, she organised her departure from Italian territory to reach the territories controlled by the IS, with the intention of also taking with her youngest son Berisha Alvin, born in Erba in 2008, in order to have him undergo military training in the ranks of the Islamic State militiamen.
It was the husband himself who declared that his wife, of Muslim faith, had become a religious fundamentalist over the past year, confiding in him that she wanted to join the Islamic extremists to help them with their war.
This radicalisation was evident from the fact that she rigidly followed the Koran, prayed often, followed Islamic religious leaders via the Internet, began to wear the veil and demonstrated a desire to impose such conduct also on her son, religious fervour, however, not shared by the rest of the family. Moreover, during a stay in Germany at her brother’s, the woman frequently wrote to a man via the Internet, a man believed to be the one who then took her to Syria.
From the confiscated computer, a considerable amount of images emerged that were related to the radicalisation of the woman, including images of several extremist preachers and propagandists of the Islamic State, including Bajrami Sadullah, the black flag usually used as the banner of jihadist organisations, women wearing the niqab and children armed with Ak-47s. There were also internet surfing on the YouTube channel of viewing videos of well-known Islamic extremist preachers, such as Bajrami Omer, imam of the Skopje mosque, suspected of proselytising and recruiting for terrorist organisations close to ISIS, and Krasniqi Shefqet, imam of the Grand Mosque in Pristina, who was arrested by the local police in September 2014 on suspicion of recruiting and facilitating terrorist activity. The affair of Berisha Valdona fits perfectly into the framework of propaganda through the use of the internet, carried out by the Islamic State following its rapid territorial conquests from northern Syria and some provinces of Iraq and Libya, in order to attract into the ranks of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s army a large number of fighters defined as ‘foreign fighters’, made up of women and men of different nationalities, recruited to the Islamic terrorist cause.
Valbona travelled to Syria as part of a project aimed at making a concrete contribution to the Islamic State’s cause both through her own personal contribution and by providing her son’s terrorist organisational structure.
It also appears that the woman remarried with a fighter, as part of her adherence to the rules of the Islamic State. The woman was reportedly the victim of an airstrike, allegedly in July 2019, while her son, whose name had been changed to Yusuf, was severely injured, but after a stay in the al-Hol refugee camp in north-eastern Syria, he was returned to Italy in November 2019.