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UK arrests WikiLeaks co-founder Assange after Ecuador withdraws asylum

Assange has been holed up for nearly nearly seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy [Ruptly]

Date of publication: 11 April, 2019

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British police have arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at Ecuador's embassy in London after his asylum was withdrawn.

British police have arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at Ecuador's embassy in London after his asylum was withdrawn.

London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Thursday that Assange had been taken into custody on a court warrant dating back to 2012.

The police added that officers had been "invited into the embassy by the Ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government's withdrawal of asylum".

Russian video news agency Ruptly published footage of the arrest, showing several men carrying a bearded Assange out of the embassy and into a police car.

Assange has been holed up for nearly nearly seven years out of fear that if he steps off Ecuador's diplomatic soil he will be arrested and extradited to the US for publishing classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks.

He first fled to the embassy in London's plush Knightsbridge district after being accused of sexual assault in Sweden - allegations that have since been dropped.

Ecuador's president Lenin Moreno said its government withdrew Assange's asylum status, citing alleged international convention violations.

But WikiLeaks accused Ecuador of breaching international law by withdrawing his asylum.

The 47-year-old Australian is due to appear in court later on Thursday. He faces prosecution for breaching the conditions of his bail in Britain in 2012.

WikiLeaks had warned last week that a revocation of Assange's asylum could happen within "hours to days", citing sources in Ecuador.

The whistleblowing website believes that the US is working with Ecuador to extradite Assange to face charges.

Julian Assange's attorney Jennifer Robinson says the WikiLeaks founder had been arrested on an extradition request from the United States as well as on charges of breaching his bail conditions.

In a tweet, Robinson said Assange "has been arrested not just for breach of bail conditions but also in relation to a US extradition request."

The US Justice Department inadvertently revealed the existence of a sealed criminal case against Assange in a court filing last year. It's not clear what he's been accused of.

Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who leaked a trove of classified material to WikiLeaks, was jailed last month after she refused to testify before a grand jury.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman says Russia wants Julian Assange's rights to be observed following his arrest.

Shortly after Assange's arrest in London, Dmitry Peskov told reporters that he could not comment on the overall case.

But, he said, "We of course hope that all of his rights will be observed."


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