WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Arrested After Ecuador Withdraws His Asylum

Apr 12, 2019, 00:27
WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Arrested After Ecuador Withdraws His Asylum

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, where he had been holed up for about seven years.

Assange first took up residence in the embassy in 2012 in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden in a sexual assault case.

Assange was arrested on a 7-year-old warrant at the Embassy of Ecuador in London, and is now being held in a police station.

London police say they've arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy, it was reported on Thursday.

The BBC reports that Ecuador's president Lenin Moreno said the country withdrew Assange's asylum for repeatedly violating worldwide conventions. "Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially, the transgression of global treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable", Moreno stated.

The Ecuadorian president, Lenin Moreno, said the country had taken the "sovereign decision" to remove asylum for Assange.

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"In line with our strong commitment to human rights and global law, I requested Great Britain to guarantee that Mr Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face torture or the death penalty". He has been living in its embassy in west London since then. He's lived in a cramped room in the embassy and, even though Ecuador granted him citizenship, he couldn't leave the embassy without being arrested on the United Kingdom warrant.

WikiLeaks tweeted in response to today's arrest saying Ecuador had "illegally terminated" Julian Assange's political asylum.

Smith told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti that he was also not surprised by the arrest, but was "certainly saddened" by what he called "a very bad day for us all".

"Of much greater concern is this material gathering and spying by the Ecuadorian government", he said, calling it "illegal and extremely unethical".

After Assange was forcibly removed from the embassy in London on Thursday, Scotland Yard said he was arrested "on behalf of the United States authorities".

Assange made global headlines in early 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified USA military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters that killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff.

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Assange's arrest may not be a major surprise since Wikileaks has been signaling for the last few days that his embassy expulsion was imminent.

Julian Assange has been found guilty of failing to surrender to authorities in Britain.

The move came several months after Ecuador cut off communications for Mr Assange.

While has been no official confirmation of that, in November 2018 an apparent administrative mix-up at the U.S. Justice Department led to Assange's court filing appearing to be submitted in error, further stoking speculation around his potential extradition.

Assange has long feared extradition to the face allegations of leaking embarrassing top-secret USA documents, where some have called for Assange face the death penalty.

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