- Ecuador withdrew Assange’s asylum over his activities
- Ecuador has accused Assange of engaging in political activities
- Assange could be charged in the US later
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested by the British Metropolitan Police. Assange has been removed from the Ecuadorian embassy after the government withdrew his asylum.
Duty to Execute the Warrant
According to The Guardian, Assange was arrested on April 11, 2019, and taken into custody at a Central London police station where he will be detained before he gets presented before Westminster Magistrates Court. The Latin American country withdrew his asylum and confirmed it in a video posted on Twitter.
— Comunicación Ecuador (@ComunicacionEc) April 11, 2019
A statement by the Metropolitan Police stated that the department:
“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.”
Repeated Violations of International Conventions
Assange has been on the run for the last seven years and has resided in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012 to avoid getting arrested by Swedish Police over rape allegations. While Sweden dropped its investigation over the 2010 rape allegations, the British police said in 2017 they would seek his arrest over his failure to surrender to a court after he violated his bail terms.
President Lenin Moreno of Ecuador said in a video statement the situation surrounding Assange had become unsustainable and no longer viable and they have had to revoke his asylum status following his repeated violations of international conventions and daily life protocols.
WikiLeaks said on Twitter that Assange didn’t walk out of the Ecuadorian embassy but was nabbed as soon as British police were invited into the compound by the Ecuadorian ambassador. The organization speculated last week that its founder was likely to be expelled within hours citing a high-level source, even though the embassy refuted the claims.
Julian Assange did not "walk out of the embassy". The Ecuadorian ambassador invited British police into the embassy and he was immediately arrested.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 11, 2019
Mistakenly Hinted At Criminal Charges
Assange took asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 claiming that if he was extradited to Sweden, he could be arrested by the United States to face charges relating to Wikileaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables.
While the US has never publicly admitted to charging Assange, a November 2018 court document in an unrelated case “mistakenly” hinted at criminal charges against a person named “Assange” even though he wasn’t named as a defendant. Legal analysts said the error was likely to have been caused by prosecutors copying and pasting from sealed documents.
UK Foreign Minister Alan Duncan told the BBC the arrest, which comes only a day after Wikileaks said it had unearthed a spying operation against its founder, is the result of extensive dialogue between the UK and Ecuador.
Mr. Assange has had a frosty relationship with his hosts relating to what he could or not do while at the embassy; something BBC’s James Landale says led to the removal of Assange’s access to the internet “for engaging in political activities. Assange will initially face UK legal proceedings but could be extradited to the US over the Wikileaks revelations.