Julian Assange, the co-founder of the whistle-blower organization Wikileaks was arrested on Thursday at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, according to. report from BBC. The arrest brings to an end Assange’s almost seven years in the embassy, which he entered in 2012 in an effort to avoid extradition to Sweden due to a sexual assault case. In the time since he entered, the case has been dropped. London’s Metropolitan Police said that Assange’s arrest was due to Assange’s failure to surrender to the court.
Lenin Moreno, the current president of Ecuador, said the country had withdrawn Assange’s asylum due to the Wikileaks co-founder’s violations of international conventions, while Wikileaks commented through Twitter that Ecuador’s termination of Assange’s asylum was a “violation of international law”.
The British Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted, “Nearly 7yrs after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, 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.”
While the extradition that the 47-year-old Assange first entered the embassy to avoid has been dropped, he still faces charges over skipping bail back in 2012. Assange has denied the charges throughout, explaining his purpose for staying in the embassy is an effort to avoid further extradition to the United States due to the publishing of classified American information through the Wikileaks web site.
Scotland Yard, the headquarters for the Metropolitan Police, said that following Ecuador’s withdrawal of Assange’s asylum it was invited by the Ecuadorian ambassador to enter the embassy and arrest Assange. Assange is currently in custody at a central London police station where he will remain until his appearance at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
President Moreno said that the country had “reached its limit on the behavior of Mr. Assange” due to his Wikileaks organizations interference in other country’s internal affairs, adding, “The most recent incident occurred in January 2019, when WikiLeaks leaked Vatican documents. This and other publications have confirmed the world’s suspicion that Mr. Assange is still linked to WikiLeaks and therefore involved in interfering in internal affairs of other states.”
During Assange’s time at the Ecuadorian asylum, he and the country had several disputes over the conditions he was living in, particularly regarding what he was allowed to do inside the building. Ecuador removed Assange’s access to the internet and accused him of continuing his political activities, something that was not allowed as a requirement for his asylum.