Julian Assange arrested by police and removed from embassy in London
WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, after taking refuge there seven years ago. At the time, he was avoiding extradition back to Sweden over a sexual assault case.
Assange claimed that if he were extradited back to Sweden he might be arrested by the United States government to face charges relating to WikiLeaks’s publication of thousands of US diplomatic cables.
Authorities never confirmed there were charges, but in November 2018 a mistake in document filing in an unrelated case suggested that criminal charges may have been prepared in secret. Legal analysts claimed that error was likely caused by prosecutors copying and pasting information from sealed documents.
In March, Assange’s internet access was cut off and he was forbidden from having visitors, as part of a relationship that seems to have soured at the embassy. Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno has said Assange had “repeatedly violated” the conditions of his asylum in their embassy.
“We should ensure Mr Assange’s life is not at risk but he’s violated the agreement we have with him so many times,” Moreno said, speaking to the Ecuadorean radio broadcasters association earlier this month.
Metropolitan Police said he had been taken into custody and will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court "as soon as is possible".