Julian Assange arrested in London after Ecuador withdraws asylum - GulfToday

'Assange's life in danger if he is extradited to the US'

ARREST

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in London.

19:51:02: Bolivia's leftist President Evo Morales blasted the arrest of Julian Assange on Thursday, after fellow Latin American leader, Ecuador's Lenin Moreno, withdrew asylum for the WikiLeaks founder.

19:15:32: Assange to fight US extradition request: Lawyer

19:08:53: US expects to bring additional charges against Assange: CNN

17:53:58: Assange to be sentenced in Crown Court where max sentence is 12 months

17:53:53: Assange's life in danger if he is extradited to the United States, Assange's Quito lawyer says

17:19:12: Julian Assange appears in London court: AFP reporter

17:05:44: Assange charged in US with computer hacking conspiracy: Justice Dept

16:43:55: UN rights expert seeks access to Assange, evidence

16:38:50: UK PM May welcomes news on arrest of Assange     

16:28:53: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was pictured in the back of a van leaving a London police station in handcuffs with his thumb up, after being arrested on Thursday, a Reuters photograph showed.

16:18:51: Assange's Ecuadorean citizenship has been suspended, says the Ecuador foreign minister

16:15:29: UN expert says plans to visit Assange in British custody

16:14:28: Ecuador has exposed Assange to 'serious' rights violations: UN rights official

16:10:04: Australia said it would seek consular access to Queensland-born Julian Assange and expressed confidence he will get legal due process following his arrest in Britain on Thursday.

15:58:02: Julian Assange "is no hero", British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Thursday following his arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

15:43:51: The United States has requested the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, British police said, after they arrested him at the Ecuadorean embassy in London on Thursday.

15:33:51: The Swedish Prosecution Authority said on Thursday it was following developments after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's arrest in London but that it had yet to take stock of the information.

15:29:26: Fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden on Thursday slammed the arrest in London of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, calling it a "dark moment for press freedom."

14:56:27: Former Ecuadoran leader Rafael Correa on Thursday slammed current president Lenin Moreno as a traitor, after a decision to allow the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's nearly seven-year stay at Ecuador's embassy in London came to an abrupt end on Thursday when police entered the building and arrested him after Ecuador withdrew his asylum.

Ecuador acted within its sovereign rights when it decided to withdraw diplomatic asylum from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, President Lenin Moreno said on Thursday.

Assange was arrested at the Ecuador embassy in London after Quito withdrew his asylum, and police entered the embassy.

Moreno said: "Ecuador has decided with sovereign rights to withdraw the diplomatic asylum to Julian Assange for repeatedly violating international conventions and the protocol of co-habitation.”

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A police van is parked outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Thursday.

Assange has been living at the embassy in London's plush Knightsbridge district since 2012 when he sought refuge there after being accused of sexual assault in Sweden – allegations that have since been dropped.

Footage shot by Ruptly, a video news agency, showed a frantic-looking Assange, with a large white beard, being carried down the embassy steps by several men into a police van.

"I can confirm that Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK," British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said on Twitter.

"No one is above the law," he wrote, thanking Ecuador for its "cooperation" in the long-running case.

WikiLeaks accused Ecuador of breaching international law by withdrawing his asylum and said the country's ambassador to London had "invited" police into the embassy building to carry out the arrest.

"Ecuador has illegally terminated Assange political asylum in violation of international law," the whistleblowing website said on Twitter.

Russia accused Britain of "strangling freedom" with Assange's arrest, in a Facebook message by foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

The 47-year-old Australian was due to appear in court later on Thursday. He faces prosecution for breaching the conditions of his bail in Britain in 2012.

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A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks to the media, after Assange was arrested by British police, outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Thursday. Peter Nicholls/Reuters

He had refused to leave the embassy, fearing ultimate extradition to the United States where WikiLeaks said he faces charges over his website publishing huge caches of hacked State Department and Pentagon files.

WikiLeaks had warned last week that a revocation of Assange's asylum could happen within "hours to days", citing sources in Ecuador.

'Truman Show' in embassy

WikiLeaks on Wednesday had claimed that it was being blackmailed by "dubious characters" who had obtained security camera footage of Assange inside the embassy.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, accused Ecuador authorities of gathering the images, which he said then found their way into the hands of a group in Spain, who were demanding $3 million (2.7 million euros) not to publish them.

The documents include thousands of photographs and gigabytes of video footage showing Assange meeting lawyers and visitors and of him receiving a medical check-up.

"Since (President Lenin) Moreno took power in Ecuador (in 2017), Julian Assange has been living in a Truman Show type situation" with constant surveillance, Hrafnsson claimed.

The editor also accused embassy staff of photocopying a legal document belonging to Assange's lawyer Aitor Martinez.

WikiLeaks believes that the United States is working with Ecuador to extradite Assange to face charges, and that the embassy documents were "quite likely shared with the Trump administration", although it offered no proof of this.

Ecuador had said on Tuesday it was reassessing Assange's asylum claim.

Agence France-Presse