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British soldiers deny being part of far right group

Two British Army soldiers appeared in court to deny being members of banned neo-Nazi group National Action.

Lance corporal Mikko Vehvilainen, 33, and Private Mark Barrett, 24, are accused of being a member of National Action, which is contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000.

Vehvilainen and a 23-year-old civilian, who cannot be named for legal reasons, both deny three other terror-related offences.

They are also charged with possessing documents useful for terrorism, publishing threatening material and distributing terror documents.

Lance Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen and Private Mark Barrett are accused of being part of banned neo-Nazi group National Action

Vehvilainen, appearing via videolink from HMP Belmarsh, and Barrett entered not guilty pleas regarding being members of National Action, which became the first right-wing group banned by the Government following the murder of MP Jo Cox in 2016. 

Lance Corporal Vehvilainen, a serving member of the Royal Anglians who is originally from Finland but was previously based at the Wales HQ of the British Army in Brecon, allegedly posted comments on a website intending to stir up racial hatred.

He is also accused of possessing a copy of ‘2083: A European Declaration of Independence’ by Anders Breivik between May 26 and September 5 last year.

Far-right terrorist and mass murderer Breivik, who wrote the name using the pen-name Andrew Berwick, is in jail for killing 77 people in Norway in 2011.

Father-of-two Barrett was previous based at the British Army’s Dhekelia base in Cyprus,.

National Action was banned in December 2016 under the Terrorism Act 2000. 

Two other soldiers had been arrested as part of the investigation by West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit but were later released without charge.

Vehvilainen allegedly had a book by Anders Breivik (pictured in file photo)

National Action (whose members are pictured in a file photo) are banned under terrorism laws

Vehvilainen allegedly had a book by Anders Breivik (left in file photo). National Action (whose members are pictured, right, in a file photo) are banned under terrorism laws

 

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