Julian Assange, the co-founder of WikiLeaks, who took refuge in the embassy seven years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped, was arrested today after he failed to surrender to the court.
Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno said it withdrew Mr. Assange’s asylum after his repeated violations to international conventions. But WikiLeaks tweeted that Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Mr. Assange’s political asylum “in violation of international law”.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted: “I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK. I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation & metpoliceuk for its professionalism. No one is above the law.”
Mr Assange, 47, had refused to leave the embassy, claiming if he did he would be extradited to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks. Scotland Yard said it was invited into the embassy by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.
Mr Assange would remain in custody at a central London police station, before appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court “as soon as is possible”, the statement added.
UK foreign minister Sir Alan Duncan said the arrest followed “extensive dialogue between our two countries”. It comes a day after Wikileaks said it had uncovered an extensive spying operation against its co-founder at the Ecuadorean embassy. (Inputs from BBC)