The arrest comes some 24 hours after WikiLeaks claimed that Assange had been subject to a sophisticated spying operation, with the obtained data presumably being transferred to US authorities.
UK police have officially announced that they arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The official statement from the police says Assange was arrested “for failing to surrender to the court” and was taken to a central London police station, where he will stay until he goes to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court. The police noted that they had been invited into the embassy by the Ecuadorian Ambassador after the country withdrew his asylum.
WikiLeaks has accused Ecuador of illegally terminating Assange’s political asylum in violation of international law, leading to his arrest by UK authorities. The whistleblowing website stated that “powerful actors” such as the CIA, had used “sophisticated” efforts to dehumanise Julian Assange.
Assange’s lawyer, cited by the whistleblower’s mother, believes that the WikiLeaks’ founder will face a court hearing within 24 hours. He reportedly added that British authorities will be demanding a maximum prison term of 12 months for his violations.
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has announced via his Twitter that the country withdrew Assange’s asylum over his alleged “repeated violations of international conventions” and daily rules. Moreno later added that his country had been assured by London that the WikiLeaks’ founder wouldn’t be extradited to a country with a death sentence.
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has extended his gratitude to the Ecuadorian president for cooperating with London to ensure that Assange “faces justice”.
“Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law. He has hidden from the truth for years. Thank you Ecuador and President Lenin Moreno for your cooperation”, Hunt wrote in a tweet.
© AP PHOTO/ ALASTAIR GRANT‘Day Democracy Ended in Britain’: Twitter Reacts to Assange Arrest in London
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has been considering terminating Julian Assange’s asylum in the country’s London embassy since 2018. Last week, the Ecuadorian president accused Assange of violating the conditions of his stay in the embassy by meddling in the politics of Ecuador’s partners, as well as other states.
At the same time, WikiLeaks reported, citing sources within the Ecuadorian government that Assange could be expelled from the embassy within “hours to days” and that his arrest had already been pre-arranged in talks between London and Quito.
Julian Assange has spent 7 years in the Ecuadorian Embassy after he was released on bail from UK custody where he had been arrested at Sweden’s request over rape charges in that country. Sweden later dropped all charges, but Assange remained in the embassy because he was under the threat of being arrested again, this time for violating his bail conditions.
The WikiLeaks founder feared that in the event of arrest by the UK authorities he could be extradited to the US, who is seeking to apprehend the whistleblower over publishing secret military and State Department cables related to the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Assange indicated that the charges in Sweden, which appeared soon after the cables’ publication and that led to his arrest in 2012, were politically motivated