LONDON - Two serving British soldiers are among the three men charged on Monday night with an offence under Britain's anti-terror laws.
The three have been accused of being members of a banned neo-Nazi group, National Action, a far-right group banned in 2016 by Britain's interior ministry, the Home Office.
Described by the Home Office as virulently racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic, National Action became the first extreme right-wing organization to be declared illegal under new anti-terror laws.
Police in England's West Midlands named the men as Mikko Vehvilainen, 32, a soldier based at Sennybridge Military Camp in Brecon, Wales, Mark Barrett, aged 24, based at Dhekelia Garrison in Cyprus and Alexander Deakin, aged 22, a civilian living in Birmingham.
Vehvilainen has been accused of one count of possessing a document containing information of the kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
He is also charged with two counts of publishing written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, by posting comments on a website intending to stir up racial hatred or where having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred is likely to be stirred up.
The Home Office proscription of National Action means that being a member of, or inviting support for it is a criminal offence carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
The group, described in official documents as a "racist neo-Nazi group", was established in 2013 and has branches across Britain which "conduct provocative street demonstrations and stunts aimed at intimidating local communities".
National Action is said to be secretive with rules to prevent members from talking openly about the organization. Details of the leadership of the group are cloaked in secrecy.
An investigation by the Daily Mirror, one of Britain's best known national newspapers, identified the leader of National Action as a former double-glazing salesman who graduated from university with a degree in politics.
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