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Finn serving in British Army arrested for neo-Nazi activity

A man British officials believe is a Finnish citizen has been detained in Britain and faces charges of several counts of terrorist activities. A member of the British Army, he is accused of membership in the far-right group National Action, banned in Britain last year for its overt neo-Nazi activity.

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Image: AOP

Three men, one of whom is believed to be a Finnish citizen, have been detained in Britain for violating the country's terrorism laws. They are suspected of being members of a banned right-wing organisation known as National Action. Two of the three are currently serving in the British Army.

The Finnish news agency STT says British police believe one of the soldiers is a Finnish citizen. For example, Sky News reports that one of the three men is originally from Finland. Finland's Foreign Ministry has indicated that it is aware of the case, but will not confirm the man's Finnish citizenship. 

The man suspected of being a Finn will face charges for terror offences, and for being in possession of documents likely to be useful to a person preparing to commit an act of terrorism, an activity that was banned in Britain under the Terrorism Act of 2000. He is also accused of publishing threatening, abusive or insulting comments online, with the intention of stirring up racial hatred.

Among other media sources, the BBC reports that the 32-year-old defendant also faces charges for possession of pepper spray.

The men were arrested last week, and will appear in court hearings on Tuesday in London.

Up to 10 years imprisonment

National Action was banned by the Home Office last year, the first extremist group to be outlawed in Britain since the Second World War. It makes no secret of its neo-Nazi leanings. Members applauded the 2016 murder of British MP Jo Cox by a white supremacist.

British law states that people found guilty of membership can face up to ten years in prison.

Huffington Post reports that the group has fewer than 100 members, most of whom are under 20 years of age.

Two years ago, the group arranged a march in Liverpool, but counter-protesters forced the far-right demonstrators to leave the streets and take refuge in the railway station. The police later shut down the march. 

HOPE not Hate, a British anti-fascism campaign, says that National Action has remained active despite the ban, and was recruiting and training more members under new names.

A representative of the campaign told the Independent four days ago that members of National Action have been seen meeting at a "terror training camp" in a Warrington warehouse in northwest England.

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