Richard Hartley-Parkinson, Metro, August 2, 2018
Former English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson has described his prison sentence as an attempt to ‘mentally destroy’ him.
Robinson, who was released from HMP Onley in Rugby on Wednesday, said he was subject to ‘solitary confinement’ and treatment that amounted to ‘mental torture’.
He was released from the Category C prison after three leading judges in London 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 on Facebook, 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 célèbre 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 Jr and actress Roseanne Barr, and internet personalities associated with the so-called alt-right.
Followers from as far afield as Istanbul and Washington sent him almost £20,000 worth of Bitcoin, including a payment of more than £5,500 which passed through his Bitcoin wallet on the day he was jailed.
Thanking well-wishers from ‘all over the world,’ he said: ‘I did not expect to come home today.’
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.
Judges rejected his lawyers’ argument that there should not be a fresh hearing because he has already served the equivalent of a four-month sentence.