Oldham man who travelled 2,000 miles to fight for Vladimir Putin is jailed for terror offence

Introduction — July 14, 2017

Benjamin Stimson, convicted of "terrorism" for fighting for pro-Russian militia in Ukraine. Click to enlarge

Benjamin Stimson, convicted of “terrorism” for fighting for pro-Russian militia in Ukraine. Click to enlarge

This case illustrates the double-standards and hypocrisy attending the West’s official stance on terror. How what some consider as “terrorists” others see as “freedom fighters” or vice versa.
It’s all relative and dependent on the official government position on any given conflict.
For example, there was an “open door” policy for Libyan exiles to travel to Libya to fight against Col Gaddafi in 2011. Members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group told Middle East Eye that the UK security services “looked the other way” as they shuttled back and forth between Libya and the UK.
Even though they were involved in what some would regard as a terror campaign against Gaddafi they were allowed through customs without question or scrutiny.
As it turned out one of them was finally acknowledged as a “terrorist” by UK authorities. His name was Salman Abedia, the son of Libyan exiles, he detonated a suicide bomb in Manchester shortly after returning from Libya.
Only then was he recognised by UK authorities as a “terrorist” but by then it was too late and 22 people were dead.
Unfortunately for Benjamin Stimson the British government does not side with Russia on the issue of Ukraine. In fact British Army personnel are actively engaged in training the Ukrainian armed forces. Hence Stimson has been convicted of “terrorism” because he was fighting on the wrong side in a conflict where the UK officially supports the Ukrainian government. Ed.

Oldham man who travelled 2,000 miles to fight for Vladimir Putin is jailed for terror offence

Chris Slater — Manchester Evening News July 14, 2017

A man from Oldham who travelled 2,000 miles to fight for rebel forces in Ukraine has been jailed for terrorism.

Police began investigating Benjamin Stimson, 41, after he left his home in Oldham in 2015 and travelled to Moscow, before he illegally entered war-torn Eastern Ukraine.

At the time, an ugly conflict was under way between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed militia.

Stimson – whose exact reasons for joining the conflict remain unclear – was interviewed by a journalist while he was with the Donbass militia in eastern Ukraine in October 2015.

Having fought on the frontline in a unit of the Russian-backed militia, he returned to the UK in November 2015 and was arrested upon his arrival at Manchester Airport . Among the items seized from him was his military clothing.

Upon searching Stimson’s phone police uncovered photographs of him holding a rifle and wearing paramilitary uniforms.

In September 2016 he was charged with terrorism offences and remanded into custody.

Stimson, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to one terrorism offence under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006, with the intention of committing acts of terrorism and assisting acts of terrorism, at an earlier hearing.

He was jailed for five years and four months, plus a one year extended licence, at Manchester Crown Court today.

Speaking afterwards, Detective Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson, head of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “Stimson went over to the Ukraine with the intention of joining militia groups fighting against the Ukrainian government, and the images of him holding a rifle and wearing military clothing are deeply concerning.

“This case demonstrates the complex work the Counter Terrorism Unit does to stop those who commit acts of terrorism, whether that is at home or abroad.

“He has been jailed for the role he played in a violent conflict and I hope his conviction will send a message to all those who are even considering joining conflicts.”

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