High Court Russia free speech case collapses as British judge steps down after ... trends now
A move by the Kremlin to put an English judge on a sanctions blacklist that bans him from entering Russia has led to the collapse of a High Court case.
Mr Justice Jonathan Swift had been presiding over a case brought by British video blogger Graham Phillips, who was sanctioned by the Foreign Office last year – had his assets frozen – over his pro-Russian views. He is claiming the action is an 'Orwellian' infringement of his freedom of speech.
But at the latest hearing, last Monday, Mr Justice Swift, one of the most eminent judges on the London bench, said he was stepping down after finding out he had been added to a Russian sanctions list of about 25 British nationals.
The list includes academics, military and political figures as well as journalists who the Kremlin has deemed to be anti-Russian. It was drawn up in retaliation for the British Government's sanctions imposed on Russians – including many wealthy oligarchs – following Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, which saw their bank accounts frozen and assets seized.
Mr Phillips, now