Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange has been taken into custody by the British police at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Assange has been holed up at the embassy since 2012 where he took refuge to avoid extradition to Sweden where he was wanted for rape. He alleged the rape allegation was politically motivated as it coincided with troubling leaks of US military reports that year. He feared Swedish authorities would extradite him to the United States where he faces charges of leaks and espionage.
In 2017, Swedish authorities dropped the charges against Julian Assange.
His arrest today came as Ecuadorian authorities revoked his asylum, expelled him from the embassy, before getting arrested by the British Police.
Following his arrest, Wikileaks in a statement accused “Powerful actors, including CIA,” of engaging “in a sophisticated effort to dehumanise, delegitimize and imprison him”
Commenting on the arrest, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in a statement said; “No one is above the law and Julian Assange is no hero”.
“He’s hidden from the truth for years and years, and it is right that his future should be decided in the British judicial system.”
He thanked the government and President of Ecuador for its cooperation on the arrest. “Thank you Ecuador and President @Lenin Moreno for your cooperation with @foreignoffice to ensure Assange faces justice”, he tweeted.
Ecuadorian President, Lenin Moreno in a tweet chided Julian Assange for “repeated violations to international conventions” In a video statement released on twitter, Mr. Leno said;
“Today I announce that that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.”
Former Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa who granted Julian Assange asylum when he was president called his successor, Lenin Moreno “The greates traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin America History in a tweet which featured a video of Assange’s arrest.
Edward Snowden in his reaction called Assange’s 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. Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom.”
As at press time, US authorities are yet to comment on the development.