Birmingham imam can be extradited to stand trial in Spain, court rules | UK news

A Birmingham-based imam accused of trying to recruit people to fight for Islamic State can be extradited to Spain to stand trial, a court has ruled.

Spanish authorities have accused Tarik Chadlioui, 43, of making and uploading propaganda videos encouraging people to fight for Isis forces in Syria during two visits to Mallorca in 2014 and 2015.

The Moroccan-born Belgian national, from Sparkhill in Birmingham, faces a charge of collaboration with, or membership of, an armed group, which carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years if he is convicted.

His lawyers argued that extradition breached the father of eight’s human rights under article eight of the European convention on human rights, which guarantees a right to a family life. Westminster magistrates court was told that Chadlioui was the sole breadwinner for his family, who have been in the UK since 2015.

Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot rejected the claim, saying that the man’s family was eligible for benefits. She ruled on Tuesday that he could be extradited to Spain, saying there was a clear public interest in complying with the UK’s international extradition treaty obligations and “not being regarded as a foreign haven for those avoiding prosecution in foreign jurisdictions”.

“The family will be eligible for benefits and I would expect the mosques where the requested person has been preaching to support his family in these difficult circumstances,” said Arbuthnot.

“At worst, and I accept it might be a hardship, the oldest two children could go out and get jobs, they are 17 and 18 after all. I find that the seriousness of the offence and the public interest in upholding our extradition agreement outweigh the interference with Mr Chadlioui and his family’s rights.”

Chadlioui, who claims he is “an anti-terrorist preacher”, was remanded in custody and has seven days to apply to appeal against the decision. His lawyer, Malcolm Hawke, told the court: “His defence is that he has made thousands of these videos; why has he not been arrested in Belgium? If he was this Isis recruitment agent, this would have been picked up long before he came to the UK.”

Chadlioui, who ran a YouTube channel with over 16,000 subscribers, was one of six people arrested on 28 June in Mallorca and in the UK and Germany as part of a Spanish investigation into violent recruitment videos. All of those arrested were described as having Moroccan or dual Moroccan nationality.

The Spanish investigation started in 2015, when a series of videos appeared online showing how a young Muslim in Spain was recruited and sent to fight in Syria. Chadlioui is accused of travelling to Mallorca to steer a jihadist cell, which worked to recruit young people to travel to conflict zones to fight.

Source link

Far-right activists detained at UK border before Britain First rally | World news

Prominent far-right activists from Europe who were planning to attend an anti-Muslim rally in Birmingham have been detained at airports hours before they were due to speak.

Jacek Międlar, 28, an antisemitic priest, and his fellow activist Piotr Rybak were among three Polish nationals stopped on Saturday morning, according to Polish media and social media posts. They were due to speak at the rally held by far-right group Britain First.

At around the same time, the Dutch national Edwin Wagensveld, who is the head of his country’s branch of the Islamophobic movement Pegida, was held at Birmingham airport, Britain First said.

The detentions follow three terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. Muslims were targeted in Finsbury Park, north London, last week, in an attack during which one man was killed and dozens were injured.

Britain First describes itself as “committed to maintaining and strengthening Christianity as the foundation of our society and culture”, and repeatedly tells its followers about a coming “civil war” with Islam.

Prominent figures in the organisation have claimed that the detentions by border authorities are illegal. The deputy leader of Britain First, Jayda Fransen, told IBTimes UK: “They have not committed any crime, it’s completely ridiculous.”

Anti-racism campaigners said Międlar’s scheduled appearance was further proof of the growing links between British extremists and nationalists abroad.

Described as a “fanatical hate preacher” by campaigners in Poland, he attacks his critics as leftists opposed to Polish patriotism.

Międlar, who is from Wrocław in western Poland, has cultivated a sizeable following in his country. His local Catholic church has suspended him for the content of his nationalist sermons, but he has addressed tens of thousands of people at rightwing rallies.

His speeches target the political left, “Islamic aggression” and immigration. They often invoke the “warriors of great Poland” and are accompanied by chants of “God, honour, fatherland”.

Międlar was accused last year of calling Jews a “cancer” that had “swept Poland” during an address to a rally in Białystok.

Prosecutors later absolved him of alleged hate-speech offences. He was detained earlier this year and returned home after trying to enter the UK for another Britain First rally in Telford.

Rybak was indicted for inciting hatred last year after burning an effigy of an orthodox Jew during a protest against Muslim immigration.

During the event, he was heard saying: “Our duty and the duty of the newly elected government … [is to say] we will not bring a single Muslim into Poland. Poland is for Poles”. He then set fire to the effigy, which featured an EU flag.

Wagensveld was arrested last year for failing to take off a child’s hat shaped like a pig while protesting against immigrant centres that were supposed to house refugees.

Anti-racism campaigners have said Miedlar and his supporters could radicalise some of the 830,000 Poles living in the UK and called on British authorities to intervene before his arrival.

Rafał Pankowski from the Never Again group in Poland said the far right had been trying to mobilise members of the Polish community in the UK against their Muslim neighbours.

“Jacek Miedlar and Piotr Rybak are well-known as extreme hate-mongers. They intended to promote their hateful message to the audiences in the UK. Unfortunately, there is a big surge in far-right nationalist activity among the UK Poles this year,” he said.

Source link