Julian Assange Arrested After Asylum Withdrawn

WikiLeaks founder finally leaves embassy
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2019 4:55 AM CDT
Julian Assange Arrested After Asylum Withdrawn
In this Friday May 19, 2017, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange looks out from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy prior to speaking.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

After almost seven years, Julian Assange has left Ecuador's embassy in London—and not by choice. The Metropolitan Police said in a statement early Thursday that the WikiLeaks founder was arrested after the ambassador invited police into the embassy following the Ecuadorian government's withdrawal of asylum. Assange, who initially took refuge in the embassy to avoid being extradited to Sweden in a sexual assault case, was arrested on a warrant issued after he failed to surrender to a British court in 2012, the BBC reports. "He has been taken into custody at a central London police station where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates' Court as soon as is possible," police said.

Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno confirmed Thursday that his government had withdrawn Assange's asylum status due to "repeated violations of international conventions and daily-life protocols," the AP reports. Jeremy Hunt, Britain's foreign secretary, thanked Ecuador and said Assange was "no hero." Assange, who entered the embassy in June 2012, refused to leave even after the Swedish charges were dropped because he feared being extradited to the US. In Moreno's statement, he said the UK had agreed not to send Assange to a country where he would face torture or the death penalty. The Guardian reports that analysts say Assange could still be sent to the US, as long as American authorities promise not to execute him. (More Julian Assange stories.)

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