UK soldiers appear in court on neo-Nazi group charges
Three men, including two British soldiers, have appeared in court charged with terror offences over their alleged membership of a banned neo-Nazi group.
Three men, including two British soldiers, have appeared in court charged with terror offences over their alleged membership of a banned neo-Nazi group. Lance Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen and Private Mark Barrett are accused along with Alexander Deakin of being part of the proscribed organisation National Action. L/Cpl Vehvilainen is also charged with possessing a document containing information likely to be useful for terrorism and publishing material which is threatening, abusive or insulting. He allegedly posted comments on the website Christogenea.org intending to stir up racial hatred and had a copy of 2083: A European Declaration of Independence by Andrew Berwick (Anders Breivik). The 32-year-old is also charged with possessing pepper spray. Pte Barrett, 24, faces a single charge of membership of National Action, contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000. Mr Deakin faces the same charge as well as possession of documents likely to be useful to a person preparing to commit an act of terrorism and distribution of a terrorist publication. The 22-year-old allegedly had a copy of White resistance Manual For Fun and sent Ethnic Cleansing Operations to people over Skype. The three men appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday (September 12). After confirming his details to the court, Mr Deakin said: Im a prisoner of conscience, I believe Im innocent of these charges. He and L/Cpl Vehvilainen gave no indication of plea, while Pte Barrett pleaded not guilty. L/Cpl Vehvilainen, based at Sennybridge Camp, Brecon, Powys; Pte Barrett, who is at Dhekelia Garrison, Cyprus; and Mr Deakin, from Great Barr in Birmingham, West Midlands were all remanded in custody. They are due to appear on September 21 for a preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey. West Midlands Police initially arrested five men in what was described as a “pre-planned and intelligence-led” operation with no threat to public safety. The force said a man from Northampton and another from Ipswich, both aged 24, were released from custody without charge on Saturday (September 9) following inquiries. National Action, described by the Home Office as virulently racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic, became the first extreme right-wing group to be banned under terrorism laws in December 2016.