News, Culture & Society

‘Bataclan ISIS preacher’ will be extradited to Spain

Belgian imam Tarik Chadlioui is to be extradited from the UK to face terror charges in Spain following a ruling today

An alleged hate preacher said to have inspired a Bataclan bomber will face trial in Spain after a British judge said his family can survive without him.

Belgian father-of-eight Tarik Chadlioui is wanted on the continent for inspiring jihadis, but claimed his human right to a family life would be violated if he was forced to leave his home in Birmingham.

A judge in London rejected those claims today, saying his eldest children could get jobs if they wanted and his ‘friendless’ wife could return to Belgium.

Chadlioui has lived in the UK for two years and his children are aged between 18 and four months, Westminster Magistrates Court was told.

The 43-year-old contested his extradition under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees a right to a family life.

The court had earlier heard that Chadlioui was the sole breadwinner and the family, who are ‘friendless’.

But Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot rejected the argument, saying: ‘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.’

Chadlioui, a prolific user of social media, posted photos of himself in a swimming pool online

Chadlioui, a prolific user of social media, posted photos of himself in a swimming pool online

The judge said that Chadlioui’s wife was suffering from ‘understandable’ depression and anxiety, with her three youngest children aged five, two, and five months.

But, the judge added: ‘It may be that she would find her life easier if she were to move back to Belgium with her family where they have lived for many years and where I assume they will be able to obtain the support of friends.’

The magistrate said the family were also eligible for benefits and could seek help from their local mosque.

Moroccan-born Chadlioui is accused by Spanish authorities of making ISIS recruitment videos and posting them on YouTube from his home in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham.

A judge rejected claims that his wife and eight children in Britain would be unable to survive if he was sent to Spain

A judge rejected claims that his wife and eight children in Britain would be unable to survive if he was sent to Spain

They claim Chadlioui was central to indoctrinating young people through online propaganda including his YouTube channel, where he had over 16,000 subscribers.

He posted videos of himself preaching on Facebook Live, urging his followers to wage holy war against ‘infidels’, it is alleged.

The 43-year-old was one of six people arrested across Europe in June at the request of investigators on the Mediterranean island of Majorca. 

He is said to have inspired Omar Mostefai, one of the Bataclan bombers during the Paris terror attacks, after speaking at a mosque in the French capital which was attended by the killer.

Mostefai blew himself up after murdering 89 music fans at the Bataclan theatre, Paris in November 2015. 

Chadlioui has also previously been linked to groups such as Islam4UK, formerly led by convicted British hate preacher Anjem Choudary and German-based Dawa-FFM, which promotes Sharia law.

Chadlioui alleged made three videos entitled ‘Tufiq went to Syria’, which were pro-jihadi.

He claims they are anti-jihadi, especially when viewed with a fourth related video he has never posted to YouTube, the court heard.

One of Chadlioui's online sermons was filmed in a children's playpark in Sparkhill, Birmingham

One of Chadlioui’s online sermons was filmed in a children’s playpark in Sparkhill, Birmingham

Chadlioui said he had uploaded thousands of preaching videos to the internet and had not been arrested before.

He claimed videos of him preaching about the US and Saudi Arabia had been ‘hijacked’ by radicals and used in recruitment videos.

Judge Arbuthnot said: ‘There is a clear public interest in this country complying with its international extradition treaty obligations and not being regarded as a foreign haven for those avoiding prosecution in foreign jurisdictions.’

Chadlioui was remanded in custody and, with government approval, will now be sent back to Spain to face the charges.

If he appeals, as he is expected to, he could spend ‘many, many months’ in a British prison before a decision is made, lawyers said.