Belfast Telegraph

Jail term was a bid to mentally destroy me: Tommy Robinson

By Carla White

Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson has described his prison sentence as an attempt to "mentally destroy" him.

Robinson said he was subject to "solitary confinement" and treatment that amounted to "mental torture".

He was released from the Category C HMP Onley in Rugby on Wednesday after three leading judges quashed a contempt finding made at Leeds Crown Court in May.

They granted Robinson conditional bail from a 13-month jail sentence pending proceedings in another case at the Old Bailey.

Speaking to supporters in a video posted online, Robinson said he had been a "target".

"What they have attempted to do is mentally destroy me. That was not a prison sentence. That was mental torture," he said.

"That solitary confinement, all of it, everything was orchestrated and organised to cause me maximum disruption."

Robinson (35), whose real name is Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, was jailed after he filmed people involved in a criminal trial and broadcast the footage on social media.

He said: "I could be bitter and angry about everything that's happened, but if I'm bitter and angry I'd accept my own victimhood.

"I'm their target, I'm not their victim."

Robinson also accused the mainstream media of publishing "hit-piece after hit-piece after hit-piece" about him.

The case earned international attention and became a cause celebre for elements of the political right around the world.

Right-wing media outlets including Fox News, Breitbart and Robinson's former employer, Rebel Media, also flocked to his cause, alongside high-profile figures including Donald Trump Jnr and actress Roseanne Barr, and internet personalities associated with the so-called alt-right.

The video, which was viewed more than a million times in the hours after it was posted, showed his emotional reunion with his children.

Robinson could still face jail over an allegation that he committed contempt of court by filming people in a criminal trial and broadcasting footage on social media.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "Mr Yaxley-Lennon was treated with the same fairness we aim to show all prisoners."

Belfast Telegraph

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