Ex-ambassador jailed for contempt over Salmond sex trial is freed

Craig Murray was jailed after a court ruled blog posts he wrote could have identified the former first minister’s accusers.

Ex-ambassador jailed for contempt over Salmond sex trial is freed PA Ready

The former British ambassador who was jailed after a court ruled his blog posts could have identified Alex Salmond’s accusers has left prison at the end of his eight-month sentence.

Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, left HMP Edinburgh on Tuesday to the cheers of about 100 supporters who had arrived to see him walk free at the end of his prison term.

“It’s been a hard four months. I’ve learned a lot, one thing I have learned is that dignity comes from inside.

“Nobody can take away dignity from you if you don’t allow them to do so and those in the Scottish establishment who attempted to humiliate and degrade me only succeeded in humiliating themselves and sadly in bringing shame on Scotland internationally” he said.

Murray, who had become a blogger and pro-independence campaigner in recent years, was judged to have been in contempt of court over blogs he wrote during the trial of the former first minister, Alex Salmond.

The 63-year-old’s offending articles contained details which, if pieced together, could lead readers to identify the women who made allegations allegations against Salmond, who was acquitted of all 13 charges including sexual assault and attempted rape in March last year.

On August 1, Murray handed himself into police in Edinburgh and began his jail term.

Leaving the Stenhouse prison, he said it was “horrible in there” and “prison is not a pleasant place”.

He added: “Scotland should be ashamed of his antiquated, old fashioned and retrograde justice system”.

Almost breaking down in tears, Murray thanked his wife Nadir and his children, who were at the prison to see him released, and his supporters.

He said he had thousands of letters from across the world, including ones which said they were “appalled at this attack on freedom of speech and this miscarriage of justice”.

In his 16-minute speech, the former ambassador welcomed the Republic of Barbados into existence after it had “shaken off the British monarchy”, attacked Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP for not making a “scintilla more progress than they have on the day I went in”, and called for prison reform.

Murray told his well-wishers the prison guards he encountered in HMP Edinburgh said to him they did not think he should be in jail.

“A couple of them went further and stated straight out that they did not sign up to join the prison service in order to keep political prisoners,” he said.

At the end of his address, supporters, who arrived with Saltires and banners, handed him gifts of whisky and flowers.

Murray, who emerged from prison with a large beard, said he would relax for the next few days with his family.

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