Anti-Islamisation advocate Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, widely known as Tommy Robinson, has left London maximum security prison Belmarsh nine weeks after he was jailed for contempt of court. The 36-year-old activist emerged from the prison with unusually shaggy hair and a beard, looking like a "ginger cowardly convert", as he put it himself.
So #TommyRobinson has been released from jail and appears willing to live the rest of his life as a hipster selling vegan based milkshakes out of a shop in Shoreditch— 𝚂𝚎𝚕𝚒𝚗𝚊 𝚓 🐿🐿🐿 (@OfSelina) September 13, 2019
And who says prisons don’t work pic.twitter.com/84kj6kXurD
Apart from joking "first stop, hairdressers", he confirmed that he had remained in solitary confinement in the prison, where also convicted terrorists, murderers, rapists, as well as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, are kept.
“I walked into Belmarsh prison and walked out without seeing another prisoner ... for my safety”, he said, as cited by The Mirror.
He also took aim at the British authorities, whom he has earlier accused of attacks on journalism.
“The main thing for this should be an embarrassment to the British Government, an embarrassment to the judiciary”, he said in an interview with Canadian journalist Ezra Levant.
This was Robinson’s second spell in a London prison, which was eventually reduced to 19 weeks, or four and a half months, for the time he previously spent in jail, having been promised he would be released after 9 weeks.
The sentence followed a re-trial over livestreaming a group charged in the notorious Huddersfield child grooming case in 2017. His stream on Facebook revealed the ethnic and religious backgrounds of the grooming gang, all 20 members of which were ethnically South Asian and largely of Pakistani descent. He also cited demographic data about the number of Muslims and Pakistanis living in the UK, comparing it with their overrepresentation among British grooming gangs.
Robinson was first imprisoned in May 2018, but was released on appeal later. However, he was again found guilty of contempt of court over broadcasting a trial again this July. The Old Bailey ruled that his Facebook Live video of defendants had violated reporting restrictions and compromised the trial.
The activist insisted that he hadn’t violated any rules, since the information he revealed was already in the public domain, arguing that the case against him was politically motivated. He also accused the British authorities of utilising double standards and inventing "one rule for Tommy and one for everyone else". Throughout the court hearings, Robinson's supporters were protesting against his prosecution.