US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom and former Senator Sam Brownback has raised the issue of English Defence League (EDL) co-founder Tommy Robinson's imprisonment in talks with Sir Kim Darroch, the UK's ambassador to the US, Reuters reported on July 14. The news agency cited an anonymous British official and two other anonymous sources close to the organizers of the protests in London in support of freeing Robinson.
According to Reuters, Brownback expressed concern at how Robinson's case has been handled, allegedly warning the UK envoy that if the EDL co-founder isn't treated "sympathetically," Trump's administration could criticize the UK government in regards to its handling of the case. Neither Brownback, nor Darroch have commented on the news, while a US State Department spokesman has said that the sources' information is "completely false," according to Reuters, but failed to provide further details.
Tommy Robinson (whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon), co-founder and former leader of the anti-immigrant EDL, now a journalist and anti-Islamist activist, was arrested on May 25 accused of breaching the peace outside the Leeds Crown Court when he streamed an hour-long video outside the courthouse where a trial for a gang rape case was taking place. He was sentenced to 13 months in prison.
Supporters of Robinson have set up an online petition for his release, which has gathered over 600,000 signatures. The petition claims that the activist was sentenced for "reporting on Muslim grooming gangs" and "informing the public of all the wrongs committed in the name of Allah."
Robinson's supporters also organized a rally in support of freeing him from prison, which subsequently merged with pro-Trump protests taking place in London on the day of the US president's visit to the city. Robinson will be appealing his sentence on July 18.