A prominent anti-Islamic extremist whose organisation is being investigated in Austria over links to the Christchurch shooting suspect has apparently been permanently excluded from entering the UK.
Martin Sellner, the Austrian leader of Generation Identity, was being excluded on security grounds and posed a serious threat to the UK’s interests of preventing social harm and countering extremism, according to a Home Office letter which has been posted online.
It added that Sellner, who was stopped from entering Britain at Stansted airport last year, was the co-founder and de facto leader of Generation Identity, “an organisation which actively promotes anti-Islamic and anti-immigration narratives and directly targets Islamic communities through publicity stunts”.
It had been assessed that he was likely to attempt to return to the UK, the letter stated, to provide support to Generation Identity’s UK branch and undertake publicity stunts which directly targeted Islamic and immigrant communities.
The home secretary, Sajid Javid, had authorised the exclusion order, according to the letter, which was publicised via Generation Identity’s Telegram channel.
Sellner has been subjected to further searches by Austrian police in connection with the Christchurch shooter, according to Austrian media reports and videos on Sellner’s YouTube channel.
The investigation, which was not mentioned in the Home Office letter, has also reportedly widened to include Sellner’s US-based partner, Brittany Pettibone, and her alleged connections with Blair Cottrell, an Australian far-right figure.
The Austrian newspaper Die Presse reported on 18 June that two apartments in Vienna had been searched by the prosecutor’s office in Graz. It has been investigating Sellner’s connections to the Australian Brenton Tarrant who is on trial for the murder in March of 51 people in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Sellner, in two German-language YouTube videos, offered his account of the investigation. In the first, which he said was before an interview with police, Sellner said officers had removed devices from his home, and that the reason was a “strong suspicion of forming a terrorist organisation with Brenton Tarrant”.
He has previously been denied entry to the UK in the company of at least one other far-right extremist as they attempted to attend a conference organised by counterparts in Britain.
Sellner and the Hungarian Ábel Bódi were planning to attend the private Generation Identity conference in London in April last year but were detained at Stansted airport.
It was the second time in a month that Sellner had been prevented from entering the UK by border officials.
Sellner was also the ringleader of a “defend Europe” campaign last summer, responsible for targeting boats attempting to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean.
The 29-year-old was first connected with Tarrant after it emerged the accused had made a €1,500 (£1,300) donation to Sellner’s organisation. Die Presse reported that prosecutors were looking for accounting records and evidence of further donations from Tarrant to Sellner.
Pettibone announced on her Twitter account last week that she had been notified she was under investigation. Pettibone, a prominent far-right YouTube activist, and Sellner were both refused entry to the UK when they landed at Luton airport in March last year.
The Home Office did not confirm or deny that Sellner had been excluded. A spokesperson said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”
It said the home secretary may exclude an EEA national on the grounds of public policy, public security or public health if they are considered to pose a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society.