Wikileaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London

Erika Holt
April 12, 2019

According to British police, the Ecuadoran ambassador in London invited authorities into the embassy where they made the arrest on "behalf of U.S. authorities".

London's Metropolitan Police Service announced the arrest minutes ago.

Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault charges.

London police said Mr Assange was arrested moments after Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said on Twitter that the country had withdrawn his diplomatic asylum.

Metropolitan police officers arrested the controversial political activist on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates' Court on 29 June 2012.

Assange, an Australian national, will remain in custody until he appears before the Westminster court.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt thanked Ecuador for their "cooperation".

The arrest took place inside the embassy after Ecuador withdrew asylum, said the police in a press release.

WikiLeaks has claimed that Assange was being spied on in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Later that year, the group released over 90,000 secret documents detailing the US-led military campaign in Afghanistan, followed by nearly 400,000 internal United States military reports detailing operations in Iraq.

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Sweden's chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren said she was unaware as to why Assange was arrested.

WikiLeaks believes that the United States is working with Ecuador to extradite Assange to face charges, and that the embassy documents were "quite likely shared with the Trump administration", although it offered no proof of this.

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said on Thursday that Ecuador had made a decision to withdraw diplomatic asylum from Assange.

The announcement came hours after British police arrested Assange on Thursday, the latest step in a legal drama dating back more than seven years.

"Ecuador has illegally terminated Assange political asylum in violation of worldwide law", the whistleblowing website said on Twitter.

The US Department of Justice is expected to file an official request for Assange's extradition as part of their ongoing criminal case -for which Chelsea Manning was also arrested again this spring.

Assange, 47, was manhandled out of the west London Ecuadorian embassy at 10am today in a "planned operation". "He has hidden from the truth for years".

The court filing, submitted apparently in error by U.S. prosecutors, mentioned criminal charges against someone named "Assange" even though that was not the name of the defendant.

WikiLeaks tweeted: "URGENT: Ecuador has illigally (sic) terminated Assange political asylum in violation of worldwide law".

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