Tommy told me that the prison has refused to give him his mail — he hadn’t received any letters since the first day. He told me their official excuse: counter-terrorism police were going through the letters. That’s an absurd explanation — as if Tommy’s peaceful well-wishers were trying to send him illegal messages of some sort. It’s a lie. But even if it were true, why has he not received a single letter since his first day? He’s been in prison for more than a month! Why haven’t they given him a single letter since the first day?
Something else irked me, too. My visit with Tommy was scheduled for 2 p.m. I arrived nearly an hour early, just to be safe. I (and two of Tommy’s other friends) were near the front of the line of visitors. Yet the prison guards deliberately held us back and let everyone else in the queue go ahead of us. And then they made us sit alone in a waiting room for another 40 minutes, claiming they didn’t have anyone who could walk us over to his cell. It wasn’t true — the place was full of guards just milling around.
So Tommy just sat alone in the visiting room for 40 minutes waiting for us. When we were finally allowed in, nearly half of his visiting time had been wasted by this trick by prison staff.
It wasn’t random. It wasn’t done to other prisoners’ visitors. It was just us. The prison authorities were toying with us.
I’m not worried about me. I’m worried about Tommy. Are the prison guards still withholding Tommy’s mail? He has a legal right to his letters. They’re his property. Even terrorists in prison get letters. Why is he alone in not getting his mail?
Tommy is in a form of solitary confinement — he has no interaction whatsoever with other prisoners. Between his mail and his visits, that’s all he has. And the prison is cutting both of them off. I’m worried.
I want to go back to London to see how he’s doing, but my obligations in Canada require that I be here this week. So, I’ve decided to send the only other person I trust to find the truth: our young reporter, Jessica Swietoniowski, who did such a good job covering Tommy’s campaign for the European Parliament this spring. She was the only trustworthy reporter who covered Tommy’s campaign, and she’s the only person who I would trust other than myself to visit him in prison.
I conferred with Tommy’s wife to make sure it’s OK to send Jessica to visit Tommy, and we’re going to have two other family friends with her too. I’m relying on Jessica to answer questions like: Is he getting his mail yet? Is he still being treated properly? Is he still safe?