PHILADELPHIA – August 1, 2018 – The Middle East Forum applauds the release of Tommy Robinson from prison this morning, after the UK anti-Islamist activist won his appeal over a contempt of court sentence.
In June, Mr. Robinson, a long-time target of UK authorities, was covering a rape-gang trial involving Muslim defendants in England when he was arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced to 13 months prison, and jailed – all in the course of five hours, all while denied access to counsel.
The full resources of the Middle East Forum were activated to free Mr. Robinson. We:
- Conferred with his legal team and made funding available to them;
- Funded, organized and staffed the large "Free Tommy" London rallies on June 9 and July 14 (see The Times, The Guardian, and the Independent);
- Funded travel by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) to London to address the rally; and
- Urged Sam Brownback, the State Department's ambassador for International Religious Freedom, to raise the issue with the UK's ambassador.
What precisely happened: In an extraordinary decision, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales - the head of the judiciary in England and Wales, roughly equivalent to the American chief justice of the Supreme Court - himself wrote a judgment rejecting the kangaroo-court verdict that had Tommy Robinson instantly thrown in jail for over a year because of an obscure Contempt Act that a UK media guide says "in practice … is not enforced." Lord Chief Justice Burnett denounced what he called "a fundamentally flawed process" and in a further rebuff to the kangaroo-court judge, assigned Tommy Robinson's case to someone else.
MEF president Daniel Pipes commented: "This validates the #FreeTommy campaign's claim that Tommy Robinson, yet again, had been treated (in the words of his autobiography's title) as an enemy of the state. We at the Middle East Forum are delighted by this turn of events and look forward to the charges against Tommy Robinson being considered in a sober, neutral, and un-rushed manner."
Forum director Gregg Roman adds: "This is a win not just for Tommy Robinson, but for all those in the United Kingdom who publicly discuss Islam and related matters – including Islamism, jihad, and Islamic 'charities.' The UK authorities tried to shut down an important debate. They lost. The people won."
The Forum will continue to support Mr. Robinson's – and everyone else's – right to speak freely about controversial topics.
The Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum promotes American interests and works to protect Western civilization from the threat of Islamism.
For immediate release
For more information or comment, contact:
Gregg Roman, Director