Did Anis Amri have a cell phone with him when he escaped?

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The cell phone that Amri “carried” on the day of his death

Two and a half years after Amri’s death, the BKA now only wants to clarify whether he had a cell phone with him

Italian police allegedly corrected misleading report

Locations and key cases, open questions, contradictory and fundamental

A speculation

image: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann /CC BY-SA-2.0

Reports by Italian terrorist investigators mention a cell phone in the case of the victim – misunderstanding or another example of cover-up?

Did Anis Amri have a cell phone with him during his three-day escape from Berlin across Europe to Milan – or not? This detail is crucial because it could answer many unanswered questions: who the alleged assassin from Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz was in contact with after the fact, what they communicated about, whom he might meet, where he wanted to go and why.

Officially, it is said today that after he was shot in the Milan suburb of Sesto San Giovanni, he was unable to find a cell phone. But it’s not that clear. There are Italian documents that show the opposite. Especially from the German side, the cell phone find in Italy is defined as a “misunderstanding”.

Because there were also Italian victims in the attack on December 19, 2016 in Berlin, a special “Investigation Group Berlin” was set up in Italy, which was made up of the forces of the Special Terrorism Commissions (DIGOS: Divisione Investigazioni Generali Operazioni Speciali) in Brindisi and Taranto . Brindisi because there, since the beginning of December 2016, two weeks before the attack, a member of the radical Fussilet mosque in Berlin, the Congolese Nkanga L., had been detained and was being investigated there.

In the investigation files from Brindisi, one can now read in a written note dated January 19, 2017 that a cell phone was found in the dead Anis Amri that he “carried” with him. First, the report provides information about the Fussilet Mosque in Berlin and that Emrah Civelek was there. Then it means:

It should also be added that the number + 49-XXX, used by Emra Abi (Civelek), was also noted in the phone book of the phone found (which Anis Amri carried when he was on the run after the December 19 attack) He died in Sesto San Giovanni on December 23, 2016, following a shootout with police officers.

It is therefore directly referred to a telephone that Amri is said to have with him. The Italian term for this is “indosso”.

At that time, the specialists in Brindisi knew the importance of Emrah Civelek. His name had appeared in the investigation into the attack and in connection with the two other Berliners from Anis Amri’s environment, Nkanga L. and the namesake Soufiane Amri. They were arrested in Italy in early December 2016. Soufiane A. was sent back to Berlin because he is a German citizen. The Congolese Nkanga L. was arrested. During the telephone surveillance there were serious indications that Soufiane Amri, nickname “Fuffy”, was involved in the attack in Berlin (Die Zwei Amris).

Emrah C. played a “highlighted role in the group”, according to the assessment of the AG Berlin in Brindisi. And further: The “planning of the attack” with “participation of Soufiane A. and Emrah C.” happen. The Italian terror investigators formulated the assumption that Anis Amri and Soufiane Amri were “supported by Emrah C. in the flight”. The assessment gets a special drama from the fact that Emrah Civelek was apparently not only an accomplice, but also a possible “V-person” of the police, ie the BKA or the LKA Berlin.

In the translated file of the AG Berlin in Brindisi, which was sent to the German authorities in March 2017 and which, among other things, provides insights into the person Soufiane Amri, you can also read that the phone number of Emrah C. had been in the phone book of the ” Anis Amri’s cell phone “confessed” was found when he was shot “.

The phrase “carried with you” expresses a different finding than, for example, the discovery of two Amri cell phones in and on the Tat truck in Berlin.

It is now puzzling: No cell phone is listed in the directory of evidence that Amri had with him in Italy. However, the evidence list is incomplete and of limited value. The German investigators noticed that several items are missing, which can be seen in the crime scene photos of Sesto San Giovanni: For example, a black cloth bag and a package with white cable ties. On the other hand, an object is listed, a plaster, which in turn cannot be seen on the crime scene pictures.

Exactly a year ago, on June 27, 2019, the chief clerk of the Breitscheidplatz crime complex at the Karlsruhe Public Prosecutor’s Office, Chief Prosecutor Helmut Grauer, was invited to the Bundestag’s committee of inquiry as a witness. The MP Irene Mihalic (Alliance 90 / The Greens) also addressed the Amris mobile phone in question. Literally, she said: “The Italian documents also show that where Anis Amri was picked up and then shot by the Carabinieri, he was in possession of another cell phone.”

The witness Grauer initially replied as follows: “Yes, I can tell you a few things about that. It also bothered me a lot. It was said over and over again that a cell phone was found.” Then he explained that the BKA was “on the spot” very soon after Amri’s death and “was present in the investigation with the Italian police colleagues”. The German police officers always said: “No mobile phone was found there.”

Today we know that the German investigators could not physically inspect the body, the murder weapon or any other evidence, but could only see photos of it. Grauer then said in the committee meeting that even according to the Italian authorities’ findings, there was no cell phone to be found in the evidence and on detailed photographs. He stated:

It was interesting that Anis Amri had no mobile phone when fleeing, just a SIM card. So. Nevertheless, the assertion came up again and again that there was one. In the end I went into it again because I wanted to get this track out of the way. I wanted to know: what’s going on there? Was there one now, but then I want to have it and evaluate it, or was there none now?

It actually said, “Because I wanted to get this trail out of the way.” Then the Karlsruhe Chief Prosecutor explained that the Federal Criminal Police Office had asked its liaison officer in Italy again what was going on. And he found:

The whole thing dissolves relatively easily. An official who was not involved in the investigation, an agency that was not involved in the investigation into Amri’s death, simply messed up or blurred it. In his note, he did not mean the cell phone that was found at Amri in Italy, he meant a cell phone that Amri left behind at the scene of the crime in Germany.

And it ended with the Italians now confirming again that no cell phone was found at Amri in Italy.

Mobile phones left behind in Berlin are confused with mobile phones found in Milan – that is a bit cheap. Especially since the said agency, which was not commissioned to investigate Amri’s death, was none other than AG Berlin with its terrorist specialists in Brindisi. This was the result of questions from MPs Martina Renner (Left Party) at the committee meeting at the time.

Renner: “You had now introduced as an argument why this note should not be taken there so seriously, but rather the local officials should be better asked: because Brindisi is so far away from Sesto San Giovanni. Well, this unit, which in Brindisi wrote this note and carried out the investigation, this is the Digos, a special unit for combating terrorism and extremism, to hold up to the fact that they are in Brindisi and not in Sesto San Giovanni is something like to hold that to the BKA it’s in Meckenheim and not in Chemnitz. So the place where they sit says nothing about their qualifications. It wasn’t anyone in Italy. So why is it somehow downgraded this time to anybody sitting in Brindisi? I do not understand that.”

Witness Grauer: “I think there is relatively little to explain now. When it comes to …”

Renner: “… these people are the state protection experts.”

Witness Grauer: “Yes, but in Brindisi. And when it comes to whether something, a physical object, was in Milan, my experience tells me that a person who has been in Milan can judge that better than one Person who is sitting in Brindisi, whether or not she is a state protection expert. It is about an immediate perception: Was there a cell phone or was there no cell phone? “

The corresponding BKA note on the demands in Italy was so up to date that it was not yet available to the committee. It dates from May 8, 2019, just a few weeks before the committee meeting. At the same time, however, two and a half years after Amri’s death. Only then does the BKA want to have clarified whether the dead person had a cell phone with him or not.

The BKA note in question was then received by the committee of inquiry four weeks after the meeting. It shows that at the end of April 2019 the BKA commissioned his liaison officer in Rome to “verify” the content of the passage in the Brindisi report, saying that Amri had a cell phone with him in Milan. The contradicting BKA findings that no cell phone was found was given to him on the way. It is not stated what kind of knowledge it was and how it was obtained.

The desired “verification” resulted in the BKA liaison officer being informed by the higher-ranking central state protection authority of Italy, DCPP (Direzione Centrale della Polizia di Prevenzione), “verbally” that the report from Brindisi was “inaccurate and misleading”. The police headquarters in Brindisi admitted that. The report did not want to express that Amri “carried” a cell phone with her. In addition, DIGOS Milan “on request” also confirmed that “no mobile phone” had been found by Amri at the event location.

Report from Brindisi “misleading”? It was the opposite. What is interesting is the literal takeover of the original passage, which was then given a different prefix. The report from Brindisi dated January 19, 2017 states: “..indosso …” – Amri “had a cell phone with her”. Now it is explained that the investigators in Brindisi did not want to express that he “carried” a cell phone with him.

Amri had been seen several times on his cell phone or captured on video on his way to Italy. At the end of a video recording in the subway underpass at the zoo a few minutes after the attack, you can see him taking an object out of the anorak. It could have been a cell phone. On December 21, 2016, a witness met him at 7 a.m. on the bus from Emmerich to Kleve. He knew Amri. He even spoke to him, he later wrote down, asked him how he was, shook his hand. Then the acquaintance wants to have sat down with him and they had talked. Amri had a phone with him, the witness is certain.

At a train station in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, Amri received a SIM card from a promotion that he did not use and that was found on his evidence. Surveillance videos in the train stations of Nijmegen, Amsterdam and Brussels show how Amri is holding an object to his ear, like when he is on the phone or seems to be holding a cell phone. In any case, there are several indications that he had a cell phone with him.

His communication with it could, of course, reveal knowledge about the crime and the perpetrator. Who was he in contact with? Did he have help with the escape? Maybe it was piloted, from place to place? Because his route from Berlin to Sesto San Giovanni near Milan is strange and at first glance not very logical. Why doesn’t he go there directly, but via Emmerich, Amsterdam, Brussels, Lyon, Turin, Milan?

The Italian newspaper Il foglio published an article on December 23, 2016, the day Amri was killed, on the Internet edition with the heading: “The trap of services”.

An undisclosed source, the paper said, reported that a group of various intelligence officials, including Italian and Tunisian specialists, had expected Amri in the Bergamo area. The city is about 40 minutes by car from Sesto San Giovanni. Near Bergamo, Amri could rely on a network of Tunisians who, like him, arrived in Lampedusa in 2011. However, many are not Islamists, but petty criminals. This network was monitored by the services because Amri was expected there. This corner of Europe is the most familiar to Amri after Germany, the text says.

It fits that a Berliner, who spoke to Amri, has remembered his northern Italian accent. It is not the dialect of Milan, says the woman, but from the corner, there is no doubt about it.

At the committee meeting in the Bundestag on July 2, the last before the summer break, the BKA liaison officer in Italy who was also concerned with the cell phone case was interviewed as a witness. In March, his arrival from Rome failed due to the corona lockdown and the closed borders.
(Sandro Mattioli and Thomas Moser)

Thomas Moser

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