On Wednesday morning, Tommy Robinson was freed from the HMP Olney following a quick appeal of his contempt of court sentencing earlier this year.
On May 25, Robinson was stopped by police while filming outside of a grooming gang trial at Leeds Crown Court. In the past few decades, thousands of British girls and young women have been victims of “grooming gangs,” largely made up of Muslim men, that gain access to young girls by plying them with drugs and alcohol. Robinson has been critical of the lack of response from the government to address this issue and has advocated for justice against these rapists. In this effort, Robinson was met with injustice.
At the end of that video, police can be seen stopping Robinson and taking him away; the video was eventually removed by court-order, but not before over a quarter of a million people had seen it.
Within five hours, Tommy Robinson went from being a free man to being given a 13-month prison sentence. The trial was rushed, and this is the basis of the appeal. It is clear that Geoffrey Marson Q.C., the judge who sentenced Robinson, had a political motive. He told Robinson that he valued his free speech but that you have to exercise it “within the law.” Thankfully in America, free speech is near absolute. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case in Britain. People in Britain who say things that are “politically incorrect,” such as recognizing the grooming gang issue and not being 100% behind mass immigration into Britain, are regularly prosecuted: this is just the highest profile case.
When Robinson was first arrested, and in the months since, hundreds of thousands have rallied in support of him. His Facebook and YouTube pages saw ten and twenty percent increases in followers, respectively. He received over twenty thousand pounds in Bitcoin donations and over 600,000 people signed one petition calling for his release. Other petitions also received hundreds of thousands of signatures. Angry supporters also took to the streets of Britain, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Denmark in protest of his imprisonment. The largest protest was naturally in London, where six to eight thousand supporters of Robinson hit the streets on July 14. One June 9 protest in London got violent, including a clash with police. Big names offered their support, Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, Pauline Hanson of Australia, and Gerard Batten of UKIP all made statements disagreeing with the court’s initial sentence and praising the appeal. Various publications also spoke out in support of Robinson, including Breitbart, Rebel Media, and of course The American Spectator. While all of this was going on, Robinson was locked in a cell.
During his time in prison, Tommy Robinson was treated horribly. Robinson was transferred from HMP Hull to HMP Olney in mid-June. Due to security threats from Islamic gangs in Olney, Robinson had to go into solitary confinement, which can be psychological torture for long periods of time. In an interview with Ezra Levant following his release, Robinson stated that he was spat at through his window, had feces put through his window, and was fed false information that his family had been violently attacked. Robinson also lost a substantial amount of weight while in prison as he feared his food could have been poisoned or tampered with: he relied only on canned tuna and fruit.
While Robinson was in prison, he was slandered by the mainstream media. He is constantly called far-right, thug, neo-Nazi, a new Oswald Mosley, an Islamophobic racist and everything in between. In footage of Robinson leaving prison, he is seen telling a reporter that “all the mainstream media does is lie, the British public no longer believes you. I’ve got lots to say, but nothing to you, to the British public.”
On Wednesday night, Robinson did speak to the British public, and the world, in a video on his Facebook page. He detailed how hard the ordeal was on his family, particularly his children. He is seen hugging and crying with them when he first sees them, a scene that would hopefully warm even the iciest leftist heart. He thanked all his supporters and detailed the attempt to silence him through imprisonment. Robinson stated that his battle isn’t finished, though he is taking a two-week vacation in the Canary Islands, planned a year ago, with his family.
So, here’s to you Mr. Robinson, you are free at last. Legal battles still lie ahead for Robinson, there will be a second hearing at some point in the future. While this appeal was in Robinson’s favor, the clear miscarriage of justice in May and in the following months indicates that British courts are going to put up a good fight.