Right-Wing Activist Tommy Robinson Is Freed, Released on Bail
Supporters called the sentencing of 13 months for violation of reporting restriction a 'fundamentally flawed' process
Right-wing anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson was ordered released from a British prison on bail Wednesday after a contempt of court ruling was quashed by a judge, who ruled it came after a “fundamentally flawed” process.
Robinson, the former head of the English Defense League known for his fiery critiques of Islam, was jailed in May for 13 months after he filmed outside a court where a case with reporting restrictions on it was taking place.
Robinson’s supporters say he speaks out against political correctness and the growing influence of Islamic extremism, while opponents claim he is a racist who stokes fear and division. A British counterterror official said Robinson’s material was partially responsible for the radicalization of a man who committed a terrorist attack on a mosque last year.
The May contempt of court ruling sparked outrage among Robinson’s supporters, thousands of whom regularly turned out in London to protest, seeking his release.
This month, thousands flooded streets near Trafalgar Square to call for Robinson’s release and also to express support for President Trump. The push to free Robinson had drawn support from right-wing politicians across the globe, including Dutch Member of Parliament Geert Wilders and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.).
Robinson’s supporters had claimed that 13 months in prison was tantamount to a death sentence, considering the presence of Muslim gang members in prison. They also claimed that, while he may have breached a reporting ban, the law was applied harshly and unfairly to him.
On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal said the initial ruling was made after a “fundamentally flawed” process.
“The most important thing is he is home with him family. He shouldn’t have been locked up in the first place.”
“We are satisfied that the finding of contempt made in Leeds following a fundamentally flawed process, in what we recognize were difficult and unusual circumstances, cannot stand,” Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said, according to the BBC. “We will direct that the matter be reheard before a different judge.”
Robinson supporters reacted with delight at the ruling.
“Over the past few months, we have worked tirelessly to make the case that was accepted in the Court of Appeal today. People across the political spectrum laughed, mocked us, derided the entire process, and almost unilaterally, without understanding the case, decided Tommy was guilty,” #FreeTommy spokesman Raheem Kassam said in a statement.
Robinson’s cause had reportedly gained some steam with the Trump administration. Reuters reported earlier this month that Sam Brownback, the U.S. ambassador for International Religious Freedom, complained to the British ambassador in Washington, D.C., about Robinson’s treatment.
A State Department official told Fox News that characterizations of that meeting were “completely false.”
“The most important thing is he is home with him family. He shouldn’t have been locked up in the first place,” James Goddard, who had been involved in a number of rallies of support for Robinson, told Fox News. “Today is a victory for everyone that has been supporting Tommy. Finally justice has prevailed.”
Fox News’ Lucia Suarez Sang and the Associated Press contributed to this Fox News report, which is used by permission.
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