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12 Sep, 2017 09:19

Neo-Nazi arrests: British Army soldiers charged with terror offences

Neo-Nazi arrests: British Army soldiers charged with terror offences

Three men, including two British soldiers, have been charged under terror laws for being part of a proscribed neo-Nazi group.

32-year-old Mikko Vehvilainen from Finland and 24-year-old Mark Barrett, both of whom serve in the British Army, as well as 22-year-old Alex Deakin, have been charged with being members of far-right group National Action.

The party was the first of its kind to be proscribed in the UK last year after an assessment revealed it is “concerned with terrorism.”

The men are among a group of five arrested on September 5. Two men have been released without charge.

The trio are due to appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.Vehvilainen, who is also a fitness instructor now based at Sennybridge Camp, Powys, has been charged with being part of National Action, possessing terrorist documents, publishing racist material online and possession of pepper spray.

Barrett, from Northampton, faces a sole count of being part of National Action.
Deakin, from Coventry, has been charged with being part of the proscribed party, possessing and distributing terrorist material and inciting racial hatred after stickers from National Action appeared in various places around Aston University Camp.

The West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit, the Wales Extremism Counter-Terrorism Unit and the East Midlands Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Unit cooperated in making the arrests last week.

West Midlands Police said the arrests had been "pre-planned and intelligence-led" with no threat to public safety.

The force said two 24-year-old men, one from man from Northampton and one from Ipswich, were released without charge on Saturday following inquiries.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd decided to proscribe National Action in December last year as she said it is a “racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology”.

The outlawing of the party makes it a crime to be a member or supporter, punishable by a maximum of ten years in prison.

Just three months after the ban, however, anti-extremist campaign group Hope not Hate reported National Action was carrying on its activity “in all but name and poses a serious terrorist threat”.