01:49 GMT23 February 2020
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    WikiLeaks Founder Assange Arrested in London as Ecuador Withdraws Political Asylum (84)

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy in the United Kingdom is meant to send a message of intimidation to all US citizens and journalists, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said in a statement.

    "The arrest of Julian Assange is meant to send a message to all Americans and journalists: be quiet, behave, toe the line. Or you will pay the price," Gabbard said in a tweet on Thursday.

    Earlier, UK authorities on behalf of the United States arrested Assange inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London while US authorities unsealed an indictment charging the WikiLeaks founder with computer intrusion conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

    READ MORE: Assange Could Face Secret US Trial Where Fabricated Evidence May Be Introduced

    Assange gained fame after WikiLeaks published a large number of leaked files, including some referring to US military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and conditions in the Guantanamo detention camp.

    Assange faced criticism for not redacting some of the names in the files which some argue put Afghan informants and US personnel at risk in Afghanistan.

    Since 2012, Assange had been residing in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced a probe over allegations of sexual offenses.

    Assange denied those allegations and called them politically motivated. While the Swedish police dropped the investigation in 2017, Assange was still wary of being extradited to the United States.    

    WikiLeaks Founder Assange Arrested in London as Ecuador Withdraws Political Asylum (84)


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    embassy, freedom of speech, Arrest, Wikileaks, Tulsi Gabbard, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Ecuador, United States, United Kingdom
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