Assange took refuge in Ecuador seven years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.
Reuters reported.he United Kingdom police on Thursday said they have arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London,
Assange had been living in the Embassy since June 2012, after he sought asylum to avoid being extradited to Sweden in connection with sexual assault investigation against him that was later dropped.
He was arrested soon after Ecuador withdrew his asylum citing “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols”, according to the South American country’s president, Lenín Moreno.
The Metropolitan Police Service said that Assange was arrested on a 2012 warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court after he allegedly skipped bail to seek refuge from Ecuador. Assange had been arrested in London in connection with an extradition warrant from Sweden in the sexual assault case.
However, it was later confirmed in court that Assange was arrested on two warrants, the second by the US Justice Department. The US has sought his extradition on a “federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified US government computer”, the Justice Department said in a statement.
The charge is in connection with WikiLeaks’s 2010 release of a tranche of military and diplomatic documents, including those pertaining to the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Assange could face up to five years in jail on this charge.
The indictment accuses Assange of conspiring with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to help her crack a password on the US Department of Defense computers to access classified documents.
Assange was produced in the Westminster Magistrates Court later on Thursday and pleaded “not guilty” to the charge of failing to surrender before UK courts in June 2012, tweeted BBC reporter Daniel Sandford, who was covering the court proceedings. The court held him guilty on this charge and he will be sent to the Crown Court for sentencing.
Meanwhile, A group of six eminent public intellectuals in India criticised the arrest of WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange in London last week, saying that “his arrest and the attempt to extradite him to the US are, clearly, attacks on freedom of the press and its right to publish”. In a statement, they also called for his immediate release.
The statement was signed by N Ram, the former editor-in-chief of The Hindu Group of Publications, writer Arundhati Roy, former Additional Solicitor General of India Indira Jaising, former West Bengal Governor and writer Gopalkrishna Gandhi, journalist and People’s Archive of Rural India founder P Sainath, and historian and writer Romila Thapar.