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WikiLeaks' Founder Julian Assange Arrested in Ecuadorian Embassy in London

© Photo : Screenshot / Julian Assange
Julian Assange - Sputnik International
The arrest comes some 24 hours after WikiLeaks claimed that Assange had been subject to a sophisticated spying operation, with the obtained data presumably being transferred to US authorities.

Speaking at the UK court, Assange's lawyer stated that his client had a reasonable excuse to breach the bail conditions and fail to surrender to UK authorities, but refused to present evidence for that. Further, the lawyer said that the judge in the original case was biased against Assange. The judge rejected the allegation as "laughable".

READ MORE: Assange's Cat Not There, Taken by His Associates Long Ago — Ecuadorian Embassy

Still, the UK judge found Assange guilty of breaching bail and sentenced him to 12 month over this misdeed. The US has until 12 June to submit all the necessary documents regarding its request for Assange's extradition to the US. The whistle-blower's lawyer announced that they would be fighting the US extradition request. The next hearing on Assange's case will take place on 2 May, with the whistle-blower taking part via a video link.

"This is the situation, which violated all elements of international law, human rights […] It is an act that affects human rights, international conventions, primarily because not all the information was transparent", Assange's lawyer Carlos Poveda told Sputnik, commenting on his arrest.

The US Department of Justice vowed to soon announce official charges against the WikiLeaks' founder, arrested earlier in the day in London, and request his extradition. Assange's lawyer stated that in terms of this UK courts must resolve the "unprecedented effort" by the US aimed at extraditing foreign journalists for publication of truthful information.

READ MORE: US Charges Assange of Helping Chelsea Manning Break Into Classified Computers

Julian Assange has reportedly been taken from the central police station and brought to the Westminster Magistrates court. WikiLeaks Twitter earlier reported that Assange, who was arrested in the Ecuadorian embassy in London today, will be brought to Westminster Magistrates court "this afternoon".

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen in a police van after was arrested by British police outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London - Sputnik International
Thumbs Up From Assange Sitting in Police Van on Way to Court

It stated that his detention under the US extradition request comes in light of the case about "conspiracy with Chelsea Manning" to publish Iraq War logs, State Department cables and Afghan War logs. Assange's lawyer confirmed this information.

As Assange arrived at the Westminster Magistrates court, UK Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the arrest of the WikiLeaks' founder and expressed hope that the House of Commons would do the same. She added that in the UK "no one is above the law".

READ MORE: Group Unity4J Slams Ecuadorian Gov't for Allowing WikiLeaks Founder Arrest

Ecuador's foreign minister announced the suspension of Julian Assange's citizenship, citing "various irregularities found in his paperwork". The country's interior ministry has accused Assange and WikiLeaks of interfering in Ecuador's affairs. The ministry also claims that it suspects two Russian hackers, allegedly linked to Assange, of the same misconduct.

At the same time, Australia vowed to continue providing consular support to the arrested whistleblower and stated that its diplomats will seek to visit him in custody. The country approved releasing a new passport for Assange in September 2018, after halting the process for some time due to his issues with British authorities.

READ MORE: World Reacts to Assange Arrest in UK: From Dark Moment for Freedom to 'No Hero'

British police have confirmed that the arrest of Julian Assange comes in relation to an extradition warrant from the US authorities. Earlier, Julian Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson stated that her client was arrested by UK police on 11 April not just over violating bail conditions by hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy for 7 years, but also an extradition request from the US. 

"BREAKING: Assange has been arrested for extradition to the United States for publishing", WikiLeaks wrote on Twitter.

At the same time, UK Junior Foreign Minister Alan Duncan noted that London was not conducting talks with Washington on Assange's extradition and added that the UK doesn't extradite people to states, where they can face the death penalty.

"It is our broad policy in all circumstances, so it equally applies to Julian Assange", he said.

Assange's lawyer, cited by the whistleblower's mother, alleged that the WikiLeaks' founder will face a court hearing within 24 hours after his arrest. He reportedly added that British authorities will be demanding a maximum prison term of 12 months for his violations.

Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gather outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on April 5, 2019 - Sputnik International
Snowden Reminds UN Called Assange's Detention Arbitrary, Violation of Rights

On the news of Assange's apprehension by UK police, reports have surfaced that attorney of a woman, who accused the whistleblower of rape in 2010, leading to his arrest in London, is seeking to resume the case. Sweden's prosecutor said that there was no time to evaluate the news on Assange's arrest and added that the authorities will announce a decision about reopening the rape case later.

The WikiLeaks' founder himself labelled the case back in 2010 as "politically motivated". Sweden dropped the charges in 2017 stating that there was no way to see Assange arrested and extradited to the country in the foreseeable future, due to him having claimed asylum. The country was considering dropping charges even earlier, in 2013, but was dissuaded from doing so by the English Crown Prosecution Service.

During his arrest, Julian Assange called on the UK to "resist this attempt by the Trump administration", allegedly referring to Washington's efforts to extradite the WikiLeaks' founder to the US so he can face prosecution over releasing secret American documents.

READ MORE: First VIDEO of Julian Assange Removed From Ecuadorian Embassy

Former US National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden has slammed Assange's arrest as a "dark moment" for press freedom. He noted that the "images" of the WikiLeaks' founder being dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy "will end up in the history books".

Surrounded by British police WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, centre, makes a statement to the media and supporters from a window of Ecuadorian Embassy in central London. - Sputnik International
Clockwatching: Timeline of Assange's 2,487 Days in Ecuador's Embassy in London

WikiLeaks has accused Ecuador of illegally terminating Assange's political asylum in violation of international law, leading to his arrest by UK authorities. The whistleblowing website stated that "powerful actors" such as the CIA, had used "sophisticated" efforts to dehumanise Julian Assange.

UK police have officially announced that they arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The official statement from the police says Assange was arrested "for failing to surrender to the court" and was taken to a central London police station, where he will stay until he goes to the Westminster Magistrates' Court. The police noted that they had been invited into the embassy by the Ecuadorian Ambassador after the country withdrew his asylum.

Assange's lawyer, cited by the whistleblower's mother, believes that the WikiLeaks' founder will face a court hearing within 24 hours. He reportedly added that British authorities will be demanding a maximum prison term of 12 months for his violations.

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has announced via his Twitter that the country withdrew Assange's asylum over his alleged "repeated violations of international conventions" and daily rules. Moreno later added that his country had been assured by London that the WikiLeaks' founder wouldn't be extradited to a country with a death sentence.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has extended his gratitude to the Ecuadorian president for cooperating with London to ensure that Assange "faces justice".

"Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law. He has hidden from the truth for years. Thank you Ecuador and President Lenin Moreno for your cooperation", Hunt wrote in a tweet.

A demonstrator holds up a 'Free Assange' placard outside the front entrance of the Ecuadorian Embassy where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been holed out since 2012, in London, Friday, April 5, 2019 - Sputnik International
'Day Democracy Ended in Britain': Twitter Reacts to Assange Arrest in London

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has been considering terminating Julian Assange's asylum in the country's London embassy since 2018. Last week, the Ecuadorian president accused Assange of violating the conditions of his stay in the embassy by meddling in the politics of Ecuador's partners, as well as other states.

At the same time, WikiLeaks reported, citing sources within the Ecuadorian government that Assange could be expelled from the embassy within "hours to days" and that his arrest had already been pre-arranged in talks between London and Quito.

READ MORE: Meme Storm: Twittersphere Thrilled With Julian Assange's 'Great Big Bushy Beard'

The whistleblowing website's Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson also reported a day prior to his arrest that Assange had been subject to extensive surveillance via cameras and that all the data about his activities was allegedly handed over to the Trump administration. What is more, WikiLeaks published a video of two people allegedly sitting in an "undercover" car outside the Ecuadorian Embassy. A journalist, who spotted them, Cassandra Fairbanks suggested that the "stalkers" were taking shifts while waiting for Assange to leave the embassy.

Julian Assange has spent 7 years in the Ecuadorian Embassy after he was released on bail from UK custody where he had been arrested at Sweden's request over rape charges in that country. Sweden dropped all charges in 2017, but Assange remained in the embassy because he was under the threat of being arrested again, this time for violating his bail conditions.

READ MORE: WikiLeaks Discovers Spying on Assange in Ecuadorian Embassy — Editor in Chief

The WikiLeaks founder feared that in the event of arrest by the UK authorities he could be extradited to the US, who is seeking to apprehend the whistleblower over publishing secret military and State Department cables related to the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Assange indicated that the charges in Sweden, which appeared soon after the cables' publication and that led to his arrest in 2012, were politically motivated.

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