Julian Assange Arrested As Ecuador Withdraws Asylum

FILE – In this Feb. 5, 2016 file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Assange will be interviewed about Swedish sex crime allegations at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. The interview will be conducted by an Ecuadorean prosecutor, with a Swedish prosecutor present. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

 

Last week, rumors were circulating that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would be expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London “within hours or days.” WikiLeaks reported, through a series of tweets, that the Ecuadorian government had brokered a deal with the UK to arrest Julian Assange.

I posted about it here:

Assange was offered asylum by the Ecuadorian government in 2012 as he faced extradition to Sweden for charges of sexual assault. “Many believe [Assange’s arrest] was a classic “honey trap” scenario orchestrated by the CIA or another western intelligence agency, so that he could eventually be transferred to US detention.”

Although those charges have been dropped, Assange fears extradition to the US (where he “is facing a federal grand jury investigation over WikiLeak’s publication of American diplomatic and military secrets during the Iraq War.”)

According to The Guardian, in an interview this week with the Ecuadorian radio broadcasters association, Moreno said that Assange has “repeatedly violated” the terms of his asylum.

Earlier today, Ecuador did indeed withdraw Assange’s asylum for “repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol”and within minutes, he was arrested by the British police.

WikiLeaks tweeted, “URGENT: Ecuador has illegally terminated Assange political asylum in violation of international law. He was arrested by the British police inside the Ecuadorian embassy minutes ago.”

In the video below, Assange can be seen being dragged out of the embassy by police.

In a video statement, President Moreno said, “Today I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.”

The Metropolitan Police issued a statement which said:

Assange was arrested on a Westminster Magistrates’ Court warrant which was issued on June 29, 2012, for failing to surrender to court.

The MPS had a duty to execute the warrant, on behalf of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, and was invited into the embassy by the Ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted, “Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law. He has hidden from the truth for years. Thank you Ecuador and President @Lenin Moreno for your cooperation with @foreignoffice to ensure Assange faces justice.”

In January 2017, Fox News’ Sean Hannity interviewed Assange. Assange told him that “they are trying to say that the President-elect is not a legitimate president…Obama administration is trying to delegitimize Trump.” He also “claimed he wasn’t the source for the hacked emails he released from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Following the interview, Hannity said that he believed every word Assange had said.

News of Assange’s arrest has sparked emotional reactions from both supporters and opponents which I will post about later today.