Julian Assange, whistle blower and founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he had been living for the past seven years. In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said its officers went into the embassy to detain Assange for ‘failing to surrender to the court’ over a warrant issued in 2012. He is in custody at the London police station.
The fugitive founder of WikiLeaks was wanted by the British police for skipping bail in August of 2012, while he was under investigation for sexual assault and rape in Sweden. The Metropolitan Police said the Ecuadorian government had withdrawn asylum for Assange and officers had been invited into the embassy by the ambassador. In a video message, the Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said Assange had his diplomatic asylum withdrawn due to repeatedly violating international conventions.
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As Assange was placed into a waiting police van by seven officers, he could be heard shouting, “You must resist. You can resist, the UK must resist”. Authorities said he is due to appear at the Westminster Magistrates Court as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the British Government Minister Alan Duncan welcomed Assange’s eviction. He said this was the result of ‘extensive dialogue’ between UK and Ecuador.
However, Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry criticized the arrest. In a Facebook post, she said “the hand of ‘democracy’ squeezes the throat of freedom.”
WikiLeaks tweeted that their founder’s political asylum had been ‘illegally terminated in violation of international law’.
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Over the years, since coming into existence in 2006, WikiLeaks has published numerous leaked informations with the likes of a US military helicopter fatally shooting people in Iraq, and thousands of classified military logs revealing sensitive information about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
In 2010, the Swedish Government had issued an international arrest warrant for Assange in connection with allegations of sexual assault and rape from two women. He had denied all allegations. Sweden later dropped the investigations.