Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, was arrested today in London after nearly seven years in exile inside the Ecuadorian embassy. Assange, 47, facing charges in the U.S. and the U.K., had remained in the confines of the embassy since August 2012.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice for the Eastern District of Virginia, Assange is accused of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer. The charges are related to Chelsea Manning’s release of classified data from the Department of Defense in March 2010 while Manning was an intelligence analyst with the U.S. Army.
The arrest came as Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno said his county withdrew Assange’s asylum.
New Scotland Yard reported his arrest:
“Julian Assange, 47, (03.07.71) has today, Thursday 11 April, been arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at the Embassy of Ecuador, Hans Crescent, SW1 on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court.
“He has been taken into custody at a central London police station where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as is possible.
“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.”
You can view the video of the arrest here:
Shortly after, the London Metropolitan Police said Assange had been “further arrested” on behalf of the U.S.:
“Julian Assange, 47, (03.07.71) has today, Thursday 11 April, been further arrested on behalf of the United States authorities, at 10:53hrs after his arrival at a central London police station. This is an extradition warrant under Section 73 of the Extradition Act. He will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as possible.”
Edward Snowden called the arrest “a dark moment for press freedom”:
“Images of Ecuador’s ambassador inviting the UK’s secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of–like it or not–award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books,” Snowden tweeted. “Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom.”