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UPDATED WITH SENTENCE: Far-right organiser found guilty of intent to stir up racial hatred through distribution of stickers

|News, Terrorism

A far-right activist who set up an online library of racist stickers for supporters to download and put up in their area has been jailed. 

Samuel Melia, 34, a regional organiser for right-wing organisation Patriotic Alternative, distributed the printable stickers via an online channel with the intent of stirring up racial hatred.

Melia set up a group called the Hundred Handers on the social media platform Telegram, which had more than 3,500 subscribers, and members were able to download and then print the stickers.

When Melia was arrested in Farsley, near Leeds, in April 2021, a number of stickers were found in his wallet, which included slogans expressing views of a nationalist nature.

Following a subsequent search of Melia’s home, police discovered a book by Oswald Moseley, who founded the British Union of Fascists, a poster of Adolf Hitler and a Nazi emblem.

The prosecution said these were key signs of Melia’s ideology and underpinned his desire to spread his racist views in a deliberate manner.

On Melia’s digital devices, officers were able to download the archive of more than 200 Hundred Handers stickers, and photographs revealing the stickers had been placed at various locations around the UK.

He also recommended sympathisers use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and anonymous email providers when carrying out any activity related to the Hundred Handers group.

Among further Telegram posts and chats recovered were messages which made clear that Melia expected the stickers to be displayed in public places, and that he had placed stickers in such places himself.

On 24 January at Leeds Crown Court, Melia was found guilty of intending to stir up racial hatred through the distribution of the stickers and encouraging racially aggravated criminal damage.

He was sentenced to two years' imprisonment at the same court on Friday, 1 March. 

Nick Price, head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “Melia was perfectly aware that the stickers he published on his Telegram channel were being downloaded and then stuck up in public places around the country.

“He also knew full well the impact these racially inflammatory stickers were having, and by attempting to remain anonymous, sought to protect himself and others from investigation.

“He was very deliberate in the manner he wanted to spread his messages of racial hatred, and online messages recovered made it clear that he knew these stickers were being displayed in public and causing damage to public property.

“It is illegal to publish such material intending to stir up racial hatred towards others, and the CPS will not hesitate to bring prosecutions against those who break the law in this way.”

Notes to editors

Samuel Melia, [DOB: 09/06/89], is of Pudsey, Yorkshire.

He was found guilty of:

  • Publishing or distributing material intending to stir up racial hatred.
  • Encouraging or assisting the commission of the offence of racially aggravated criminal damage.

On 1 March at Leeds Crown Court, he was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for each offence to run concurrently. 

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