A seven year stint at the Ecuadorian embassy in London has ended for Julian Assange today.
The WikiLeaks founder was arrested in London this morning following Ecuador’s withdrawal of Assange’s request for asylum.
“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,” London’s Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said in a statement.
“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,” the MPS continued.
Assange was arrested on a warrant issued by the Westminister Magistrates’ Court back in 2012 for failing to surrender to the court.
Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, explained the nation’s decision to withdraw Assange’s asylum status.
“Today I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behaviour of Mr Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organisation, 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,” Moreno said.
The president went on to say that Ecuador has been led to believe that Assange is still involved with WikiLeaks and by extension, interfering in internal affairs of other states, something the president wants no part of.
“The patience of Ecuador has reached its limit on the behaviour of Mr Assange,” the president added.
You can hear Moreno’s full statement in the video below.
In a sovereign decision Ecuador withdrew the asylum status to Julian Assange after his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols. #EcuadorSoberano pic.twitter.com/pZsDsYNI0B
— Lenín Moreno (@Lenin) April 11, 2019
Assange feared travelling to Sweden to face allegations of rape, sexual molestation and coercion because he thought he would be extradited to the US where he could face the death penalty.
After presenting himself to police in London, Assange breached his bail conditions triggering the aforementioned warrant for his arrest in 2012.
Moreno addressed this before revoking Assange’s asylum status.
“I requested Great Britain to guarantee that Mr Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face torture or the death penalty. The British government has confirmed it in writing, in accordance with its own rules,” said the Ecuadorian president.
Britain’s foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt had harsh words for Assange.
“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 with [the] Foreign Office to ensure Assange faces justice,” Hunt said on Twitter.
The US still hopes to extradite Assange according to WikiLeaks, so that he can face charges relating to publications made by WikiLeaks between 2010 and 2011.