Tommy Robinson’s supporters – including InfoWars’ Paul Joseph Watson – have been accused of fake news after claiming he’d been moved to a prison with a 71 percent Muslim population. The claim was then debunked by prison stats.
Robinson’s cameraman and self-styled manager Caolan Robertson made the claim to Alex Jones on US far-right conspiracy website InfoWars. The claims were also reported on Twitter by British InfoWars writer Paul Joseph Watson, who posted that “Tommy Robinson has reportedly been moved to a prison with a 71 percent Muslim population.”
“Inmates were banging on cell walls last night, shouting death threats,” he said. “Protests were ignored. Tommy now fears for his safety.” His tweet was retweeted 13,706 times and liked a on a further 18,477 occasions, at the time of publication.
He later clarified his comments, though it was unclear whether he was referencing anything other than Robertson’s tweet, which read: “Tommy said it looked around 70% Muslim on his wing.”
Clarification that Muslim population is estimated to be around 70% on wing in which Tommy is being held, not entire prison. https://t.co/1C5CZ2cEHe
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) June 13, 2018
During his interview with Jones, Robertson told InfoWars that he’d been on the phone to the imprisoned Robinson – whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – and he had been told that the self-styled independent journalist had been moved from HMP Hull to a new prison. Robertson said HMP Hull was “relatively safe,” but Robinson had been relocated to the “main wing” of a new prison.
UPDATE: Tommy’s human rights are being violated as he was moved to a new UK prison last night, without warning or reason. He is now in a very heavily Muslim populated prison in the Midlands in England. #FreeTommy
— Raheem (@RaheemKassam) June 13, 2018
“We’ve found the statistics of the prison, it’s about 71 percent Muslim,” Robertson said. “Really, really, really disastrous. The last one was close to two percent.”
Infowars also reported on its website that the ex-EDL leader had been moved to a prison located “in the Midlands.” The prison was rumored to be in the vicinity of Leicester.
InfoWars host Alex Jones said that the claims were “surreal, like something out of a fiction novel” – and he was right.
Prison statistics show that, at the most recent inspection of HMP Hull, the Muslim population was 79 prisoners – or 7.4 percent of the 1062 detainees. But what about HMP Leicester? Statistics show that the Muslim population there sits at 44 – 14.3 percent of the 308 prisoners. As it happens, no prison in the country has a 71 percent Muslim population.
After the discrepancy was pointed out to Robertson on Twitter he quickly backpedalled – explaining that the figure was Tommy’s estimate of the number of Islamists in his division within the new jail.
This isn’t the first time that Robinson fans have been accused of fake news. Breitbart editor and failed UKIP leadership candidate Raheem Kassam tweeted that the decision to move him from one prison to another was made by the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid and the Home Office. However, the Ministry of Justice deal with prisoners, not the Home Office.
UPDATE: I do not believe “71%” of Tommy’s new fellow inmates are Muslim. It is more like 1 in 5. That is still high and higher than average UK prison population. There’s no need for us to disseminate incorrect figures when the real truth is bad enough.
— Raheem (@RaheemKassam) June 13, 2018
On March 25, Robinson put a case – which includes 29 charges of child abuse and neglect – at risk of a mistrial by live-streaming within earshot of jurors as they entered the court. He was sentenced to 13 months jail; 10 months for contempt of court and an extra three months for disregarding the terms of his suspended sentence.
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