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Murder at Mykonos: Anatomy of a Political Assassination

Youssef Mohamad El-Sayed Amin

Youssef Amin provided security for the Mykonos operation, ensuring the hit team would not be disturbed as they sought out their targets in the restaurant. He was a veteran of Hezbollah and had received training alongside Abbas Rhayel in Iran.186

Amin was born in Lebanon on November 5, 1967.187 He moved to Germany in 1989 with Rhayel and applied for political asylum in Berlin on February 1, 1990. He later withdrew his request and applied instead for a temporary residence permit. This was granted by the German authorities and extended until March 5, 1992.188 Like Rhayel, he lived for a while in the home of Kazem Darabi as the latter’s guest.189

In June 1991 Amin moved to Rheine to join his brother who lived in the city,190 but he continued to travel frequently to Berlin to extend his residence permit. He also worked in Berlin for periods at a time at Darabi's grocery store, the "Habibi" restaurant, and at Adnan-Darabi's Laundry, another of Darabi’s businesses. He also attended the Imam Jafar Sadegh mosque. In June 19, 1992 German authorities ordered him to leave Germany by September 4, 1992. He ignored this instruction. 191

Amin was arrested together with Rhayel on October 4, 1992 at the home of his brother in Rheine.192

 

Mohammad Atris

Mohammad Atris was born in Lebanon on February 10, 1970. He moved with his family to Germany in 1989, where they all applied for asylum. He later withdrew their applications and received temporary residence permits instead.193 Atris received his work permit in 1990 and took various jobs in different restaurants. In 1992 he reported being unemployed and received unemployment benefits. While initially his interests focused on discos, women, cars and exercising, he gradually became interested in Islam and became a familiar presence at the Imam Jafar Sadegh Mosque. Atris came into contact with Amin at the mosque.194

Atris was known to the German authorities as a petty criminal and had been investigated for robbery, assault and the possession of firearms.195 On October 7, 1992 he was arrested on suspicion of preparation of forged documents to help the Mykonos perpetrators escape but was released without charge. 196 A second, more substantial, arrest warrant was issued on January 27, 1993 in which he was charged with assisting the Mykonos assassination plot and with preparing forged documents to help Rhayel escape the country after the attack.197

 

Ataollah Ayad

Ataollah Ayad played an early role in the planning of the Mykonos attack.198 Darabi enlisted his assistance in the planning phase of the operation but his operational plan was rejected by Banihashemi.199 Ayad was born in Lebanon in 1966 and is of Palestinian origin. At the age of 10 he enlisted in the Democratic Front, a Palestinian military youth group. After receiving military training in Syria, he joined the Shi’ite Amal militia in 1983 and fought as a squad leader, first against Israeli forces and then against

[186]Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 16.
[187]Indictment, supra note 34, at 1.
[188]Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 6.
[189]Indictment, supra note 34, at 26; Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 6.
[190]Rheine is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. [191]Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 7.
[192]Mykonos Judgment, Final Report, supra note 37, at 19.
[193]Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 9.
[194]Indictment, supra note 34, at 14 and 26; Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 9.
[195]Indictment, supra note 34, at 14
[196]Final Report, supra note 37, at 17.
[197]Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 9; Memorandum from Bruno Jost, Senior Public Prosecutor, to Kubsch, Vorsitzenden Richter am Kammergericht [Chief Justice, Court of Appeals] (July 4, 1994) (on file with IHRDC).
[198]Memorandum from Bruno Jost, Senior Public Prosecutor, to Kubsch, Vorsitzenden Richter am Kammergericht [Chief Justice, Court of Appeals] at 2-5 (July 11, 1994) (on file with IHRDC).
[199]Final Report, supra note 37, at 15-16; Mykonos Judgment, supra note 27, at 33.

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Political Killings, Assassinations, Political Freedom