Briton who joined rebels in Ukraine jailed for five years
July 14 2017 07:36 PM
Benjamin Stimson
Benjamin Stimson travelled to the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine in 2015.

AFP/London

An unemployed Briton who joined pro-Russian rebel militias fighting against the Ukrainian government was jailed by a British court for five years and four months for terrorism on Friday.
Benjamin Stimson, 41, travelled to the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine in 2015. He was interviewed by the BBC there and posted a photo of himself on Facebook clutching a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
The court in Manchester, northwest England, heard that Stimson did not engage in any fighting in his four months in Ukraine.
But judge David Stockdale told him he had "assisted the militia by your presence and your involvement".
Stockdale said Stimson may have "given a lead to others" even though he did not "hold extremist views".
Stimson had earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of assisting others in committing terrorism acts.
He told the BBC in Ukraine that he was "a working class man with no work" and said he was ready to kill someone if his life was threatened as "an act of war".
He is the only Briton to have been prosecuted for assisting pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine.
More than 10,000 people have been killed since the pro-Russian insurgency began in April 2014, which Kiev and the West accuse Moscow of masterminding.
Criminal cases of terrorism abroad in Britain are normally against British citizens preparing to join or fighting on the side of the Islamic State group.
Several British nationals have also joined anti-IS groups in Iraq and Syria but have not been prosecuted.
Britain's interior ministry earlier said that anyone travelling to fight in warzones abroad "may be committing criminal or terrorism offences and could face prosecution when they return to the UK".



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