WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested by British police, who carried him out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in which he’d been seeking refuge since 2012.
The Ecuadorian government withdrew asylum from Assange for “repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol.” He was taken into custody for failing to surrender to bail and on a U.S. extradition warrant, with police officers invited into the embassy to arrest him, reports The Guardian.
Assange was wanted in Sweden to face allegations of a sex crime, but dodged a warrant issued by Westminster magistrates court, claiming the case was a rouse in order to allow for his extradition to the U.S.
Assange now faces at least one computer hacking charge tied to the publishing of leaked classified government documents, which were stolen by former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
Obama granted Manning clemency after she had served seven years behind bars, but she has once again been imprisoned after refusing to answer questions before a grand jury about WikiLeaks.
The rape case against Assange was only abandoned due to the unlikelihood of his returning to face charges, but now that he has been arrested the attorney for the woman claiming he raped her has said they will push for the case to be reopened.
We are going to do everything we possibly can to get the swedish police investigation re-opened so that Assange can be extradited to Sweden and prosecuted for rape. No rape victim should have to wait 9 years to see justice be served.
— Elisabeth Massi Fritz (@ElisabethMFritz) April 11, 2019
WikiLeaks tweeted out a call to protect Assange, saying, “Powerful actors, including CIA, are engaged in a sophisticated effort to dehumanise, delegitimize and imprison him.”
This man is a son, a father, a brother. He has won dozens of journalism awards. He's been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year since 2010. Powerful actors, including CIA, are engaged in a sophisticated effort to dehumanise, delegitimize and imprison him. #ProtectJulian pic.twitter.com/dVBf1EcMa5
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 11, 2019
Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno posted a video statement, charging that Assange had installed electronic and distortion equipment, blocked security cameras, mistreated guards, accessed embassy security files without permission, and claimed to be isolated while connecting to the outside world via smartphone.
In a sovereign decision Ecuador withdrew the asylum status to Julian Assange after his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols. #EcuadorSoberano pic.twitter.com/pZsDsYNI0B
— Lenín Moreno (@Lenin) April 11, 2019
The Department of Justice confirmed that it had sought his extradition for a federal charge of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer.”