Security

Julian Assange Arrested in London

Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the WikiLeaks founder was granted refuge in 2012 while on bail in the UK over sexual assault allegations against him in Sweden.

At the time, Assange claimed that if he was extradited to Sweden he might be arrested by the US and face charges relating to WikiLeaks’s publication of hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables. The journalist and Assange supporter John Pilger called last week for people to “fill the street outside the embassy and protect him and show solidarity with a courageous man.” US authorities have never officially confirmed that they have charged Assange, but in November 2018 a mistake in a document filed in an unrelated case hinted that criminal charges might have been prepared in secret.London’s Metropolitan police released a statement which said officers had executed a warrant after the Ecuadorian government withdrew asylum.

After 2,487 days in the embassy, the 47-year-old was arrested after Ecuador revoked his political asylum and invited Metropolitan police officers inside their Knightsbridge premises, where he has stayed since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations which Assange has always denied.

The US accuses Assange of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion”, alleging that he assisted Manning in cracking a password to help her infiltrate Pentagon computers and download material to share with WikiLeaks. If convicted, Assange faces a maximum sentence of five years .

Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, said: “In a sovereign decision Ecuador withdrew the asylum status to Julian Assange after his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols.” He accused Assange of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, and added: ‘The patience of Ecuador has reached its limit.”

The Ecuadorian ambassador to the UK, Jaime Marchan, said: “He was continually a problem to us, he was very disrespectful to the authorities, he has said that we were spying on him, he has said we were lying, we were agents of the United States.”

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