Charges of espionage laid against New Zealand soldier with alleged ties to extreme far-right group

A soldier of the New Zealand Defence Force has been accused of spying, while local media claims he has links to right-wing extremist group.

On Wednesday, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) released a statement confirming that the Director of Military Prosecutions had laid 17 charges against one of their soldiers who was based at the Linton Military Camp. 

The solider, whose name has not been published, faces four charges of espionage, two of attempted espionage, three charges of accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose and two charges of possession of an objectionable publication. 

These allegations are in addition to a number of indictments for failing to comply with orders and perform required duty. 

The statement says the NZDF will not make any further comment until the matter is heard before court, adding that no date for the hearing has been set.

Local media says the self-styled militant Christian brotherhood, Wargus Christi, has claimed the arrested soldier was a member. 

In December 2019, authorities said they had arrested a 27-year-old man, also based at Linton Military Camp. 

Although no further information was released by the NZDF, Wargus Christi claimed the arrested individual was a member of their organization. The group posted on the messaging app Telegram: “One of our boys has been arrested for reasons still unknown. They have him in custody at the moment.” 

It has been reported in some local media outlets that the man charged on Wednesday is the same individual who was arrested in December 2019. 

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Brenton Tarrant, the gunman who shot and killed worshippers in the Christchurch mosque attacks at the High Court in Christchurch, New Zealand, August 24, 2020. © Reuters / John Kirk-Anderson
Life in prison with NO chance of parole: Court hands Christchurch mosque shooter harshest criminal sentence in New Zealand history

New Zealand’s right-wing extremist threat has been well reported in recent years.
Only three months ago, a New Zealand court sentenced a white supremist to life imprisonment for killing 51 Muslim worshippers after a rampage with a semi-automatic weapon on March 15, 2019. 

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