US Right Wing Groups Fund Defense Of UK Extremist

The Guardian reports:

A right wing American think tank that spent a five-figure sum on Tommy Robinson’s legal defence has said it is aware of up to four other similar organisations bankrolling a high-profile campaign to release him. The Middle East Forum has also paid for foreign speakers to attend “Free Tommy” rallies in the UK in addition to funding the far-right activist’s court defence.

Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has hired a prominent criminal barrister who has previously defended high-profile celebrities to appeal against a 13-month prison sentence for contempt of court.

Outrage around the perceived injustice of Robinson’s plight has led to US right wing groups converging to support him, while a diplomat representing Donald Trump has reportedly lobbied the British ambassador on Robinson’s behalf.

The Middle East Forum also provided funds for the legal defense of Dutch extremist Geert Wilders, who was once banned from the UK as an “undesirable person.”

In addition to founding the extremist EDL, Robinson has a lengthy criminal record that includes imprisonments for assaulting a police officer and for mortgage fraud. Perhaps curiously for a white nationalist, Robinson owns a tanning salon.

From Wikipedia:

The EDL was founded in London in 2009; Tommy Robinson, a former member of the British National Party (BNP), soon became its de facto leader. Both online and at demonstrations, EDL members have incited violence against Muslims, with supporters carrying out acts of violence both at demonstrations and independently. The EDL’s reputation was damaged in 2011 after supporters were arrested plotting to bomb mosques and links were revealed with Norwegian far-right bomber Anders Breivik. Many of its leaders had previously been members of fascist organisations and part of its membership endorsed fascist parties.