Authorities may not have found any imminent danger to the children in this case, but it still raises many questions about the security of schools and day care facilities, and how thoroughly job applicants’ backgrounds are checked, especially after Chechen jihadists’ 2005 school massacre in Beslan.
A children’s nursery worker faces extradition to Italy to face allegations he helped fund an Islamic terror campaign.
Tunisian Ali Ben Zidane Chehidi, 35, who was living above Purley Day Nursery in Burcott Road, was one of 17 north Africans detained last month after Italian
police rounded up an alleged network of terrorist cells which recruited suicide bombers.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard the Milan-based organisation helped transport volunteers to Iraq, smuggle illegal immigrants into Europe as well as recruiting for jihadi training camps in Afghanistan.
Italian police allege it also had links to another network believed responsible for attacks on coalition troops in northern Iraq.
Clair Dobbin, defending Chehidi, argued the European arrest warrant accusing him of being involved in the plot was “vague and obscure” and should be rejected.
She said the warrant failed to say how Chehidi – who worked as a cleaner – got the illegal immigrants into Italy and other EU countries.
Ms Dobbin said while the warrant suggested Chehidi was “engaged in procuring
audio and video recordings praising the holy war”, “that does not necessarily give rise to an offence in this jurisdiction”.
Melanie Cumberland, for the Italian authorities, insisted the offences were set
out in sufficient detail.
District Judge Nicholas Evans dismissed the argument the warrant was not specific enough.
“There’s a general allegation explaining the nature of the organisation and what it’s doing, which is a terrorist organisation,” he said.
“There is no obligation to provide the sort of detail which the defence suggest ought to be there.”
Chehidi was remanded in custody until January 11 when lawyers are expected to outline human rights arguments against his extradition.
He was arrested early on November 6 in his car on Roman Way, Croydon.