Updates at the end
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by the U.K. Metro Police after Ecuador withdrew his asylum, almost seven years after he sought refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London. While being arrested, he screamed, “UK must resist, you can resist!””
This is the moment WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in central London – where he lived since 2012.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 11, 2019
The U.K. Home Secretary said, “No one is above the law.”
“Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law. He has hidden from the truth for years,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted. “Thank you Ecuador and President @Lenin Moreno for your cooperation with @foreignoffice to ensure Assange faces justice.”
Assange released reams of secret documents that embarrassed the United States government. Wikileaks has started a fund for his defense.
The United States will seek his extradition but the U.S. has the death penalty and the Ecuadorean President says he has an agreement with the U.K. not to extradite him to a country with the death penalty.
Moscow accuses Britain of ‘strangling freedom’ with Julian Assange’s arrest.
Assange’s mother has commented:
I have just spoken to one of Julians lawyers.
Julian is likely to appear before a UK Magistrate within 24 hrs re (old defunct) “bail warrant”
UK likely to seek max prison term of 12 months in higher court.
Our focus is as always to STOP a U.S. Extradition!
Let’s get to it!
— Mrs. Christine Assange (@AssangeMrs) April 11, 2019
ECUADOR EXPLAINS WHY THE ASYLUM WAS LIFTED
The relationship between Mr. Assange and Ecuador has been a rocky one.
President Lenín Moreno of Ecuador said on Twitter that his country had taken the decision to revoke the asylum status that it had granted to Mr. Assange after “his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols,” a decision that cleared the way for the British authorities to detain him.
Moreno even recently accused Assange of leaking his private messages and photos.
“Mr. Assange has violated the agreement we reached with him and his legal counsel too many times,” Moreno said earlier this month.
Moreno claims in the video (below) that Assange “installed electronic and distortion equipment” that wasn’t allowed and somehow blocked security cameras at the embassy. Those claims couldn’t be independently verified.
“He has confronted and mistreated the guards,” Moreno said during his video. “He had accessed the security files of our embassy without permission. He claimed to be isolated and rejected the internet connection offered by the embassy, and yet he had a mobile phone with which he communicated with the outside world.”
Ecuador decidió soberanamente retirar el asilo diplomático a Julian Assange por violar reiteradamente convenciones internacionales y protocolo de convivencia. #EcuadorSoberano pic.twitter.com/V02pvvtPY0
— Lenín Moreno (@Lenin) April 11, 2019
THE CHARGES AND THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
The United States Justice Department has filed criminal charges against Mr. Assange, 47, related to the publication of classified documents, a fact that prosecutors accidentally made public in November.
He also faces a charge in a British court of jumping bail, and the Metropolitan Police said in a statement that Mr. Assange had been arrested by officers at the embassy on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court in 2012, for failing to surrender to the court.
Mr. Assange is also suspected of aiding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election by releasing material stolen from the computers of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party.
The Australian Wikileaks founder took refuge in the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced questions about sexual assault allegations. Sweden rescinded its arrest warrant and dropped those charges. Assange has insisted that the accusations against him are false, and has said that the Swedish authorities intend to extradite him to the United States.
In December, 2017, Ecuador gave Mr. Assange citizenship, and was preparing to appoint him to a diplomatic post in Russia, but the British government made clear that if he left the embassy, he would not have diplomatic immunity.
The President has been in office since 2017 and wanted to find a way out of the agreement to improve relations with Britain and the U.K. They took away his Internet access, but Assange kept his phone, and then sued to regain his Internet access.
Mr. Assange, who was born in Australia, created WikiLeaks as a vehicle for people to publish secret materials anonymously. It gained enormous attention in 2010, releasing troves of classified United States documents and videos about the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and confidential cables sent among diplomats.
The files documented the killing of civilians and journalists and the abuse of detainees by forces of the United States and other countries, as well as by private contractors, and it aired officials’ unvarnished, often unflattering views of allies and of American actions. It also revealed the identities of people working with coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, which United States officials said put their lives at risk.
Mr. Assange made no secret of his intent to damage Mrs. Clinton, but he has insisted that he did not get the emails from Russia.
The files came from traitor Bradley Manning who received a pardon from then-president Barack Obama without a legitimate reason. Manning, now Chelsea Manning, is back in jail for refusing to testify to a grand jury about Wikileaks.
“Precisely what has happened inside that embassy is not clear”@BBCJLandale on what happens next to Julian Assange, after he was arrested at Ecuadorian embassy in London https://t.co/zJWkYEYWhl pic.twitter.com/NFVqQqOPX5
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) April 11, 2019
The Department of Justice on Thursday announced a criminal charge against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, accusing him of conspiring to hack into a classified U.S. government computer. He is charged with intrusion into a government computer in the Chelsea Manning case.
“The charge relates to Assange’s alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States,” the Justice Department said in a press release.
The announcement followed an extradition request by the U.S. for Assange, 47.
A British judge set a May 2 date for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange’s extradition hearing. He also found him guilty of bail jumping. The judge called Assange a “narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest.”