Two British soldiers charged with terror offences over banned neo-Nazi group
Two British soldiers and a third man have been charged with being part of a banned neo-Nazi group under the Terrorism Act.
Soldiers Mikko Vehvilainen, aged 32 from Brecon and Mark Barrett, aged 24, from Cyprus, are due to appear in magistrates’ court tomorrow.
They will appear alongside Alexander Deakin, aged 22 from Beacon Road in Birmingham.
All have been charged as part of an investigation into the banned group National Action, West Midlands Police said.
An Army spokesman said last week: ‘We can confirm that a number of serving members of the Army have been arrested under the Terrorism Act for being associated with a proscribed far-right group.
These arrests are the consequence of a Home Office Police Force led operation supported by the Army. This is now the subject of a civilian police investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment further. Any further inquiries should be made to the Home Office Police Force.’
In a statement, police said the suspects were arrested ‘on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000; namely on suspicion of being a member of a proscribed organisation (National Action) contrary to sec 11 of the Terrorism Act’.
National Action became the first extreme right-wing group to be banned under terrorism laws in December 2016.
The proscription meant that being a member of or inviting support for the organisation is a criminal offence carrying a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
An entry for National Action in the official list of proscribed groups says it is a ‘racist neo-Nazi group’ that was established in 2013 and has branches across the UK which ‘conduct provocative street demonstrations and stunts aimed at intimidating local communities’.
The document adds that the group is ‘virulently racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic’.
Its activities and propaganda materials are particularly aimed at recruiting young people, according to the list.