Co-founder of neo-Nazi National Action terrorist group jailed for ten years
The co-founder of the neo-Nazi National Action terrorist group has today been jailed for ten years.
Ben Raymond, 32, was found guilty of membership of the proscribed group earlier this week at Bristol Crown Court, where he has now been sentenced.
Mr Raymond, from Swindon, helped launch the group in 2013 and reportedly coined the term “white jihad”. He is the seventeenth person to be found guilty of membership in the banned group. He was also convicted of possessing a manifesto written by the far-right terrorist Andrews Breivik, as well as a guide to homemade detonators, but was found not guilty of four counts of possessing other documents.
Mr Raymond remained involved in the group, even after it was banned, producing much of its material and reportedly being likened to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Propaganda Minister. He also remained in contact with other leading figures in the group, several of whom have been jailed.
The court how he had also forged links with foreign neo-Nazi groups, including Atomwaffen Division, which the UK has also proscribed.
Sentencing him, Judge Christopher Parker QC said that Mr Raymond was the “principal propagandist” for National Action, both before and after the ban and sat “at the centre of the web” as the group fragmented in an effort to evade the ban. The judge said: “In the shadows of the internet you continued to offer guidance to regional National Action organisations on tactics, security, organisation but most importantly propaganda. From the centre of that web you intended just as much as other associates that National Action should survive following proscription.”
The judge added: “It was intended that the documents produced by you would be used to create instability within society, hatred between white people and other ethnic groups and ultimately create racial violence on which National Action could capitalise. You intended that the material should be used to recruit new members, specifically new young members…those young people were at risk of being groomed by your behaviour into committing acts of extreme racial violence.”
Mr Raymond was sentenced to eight years in prison for membership and two years, to run concurrently, for the two offences relating to possession of terrorist documents. After release, he will be subject to terrorist notification requirements.
National Action was proscribed by the British Government following repeated calls by Campaign Against Antisemitism and others.
Mr Raymond’s alleged co-founder recently pleaded not guilty to a single charge of membership of a proscribed organisation and will stand trial next year.
They are alleged to have founded the group when they were both university students.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Ben Raymond was the co-founder of National Action, the poster child group for neo-Nazis in Britain today. He was also its master propagandist, doing what he could to broadcast its message of racist hate. The ban on National Action, secured after calls from Campaign Against Antisemitism and others, was the first step, and convictions of its members are the second. This sentence, removing someone with grotesque and dangerous views from society, is the third.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has been monitoring and acting against the threat from the far-right for years and continues to support the authorities following suit.
Image credit: Counter Terrorism Policing