Julian Assange Arrested on U.S. Extradition Warrant, London Police Say

Thursday - 11/04/2019 08:20
The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2017 on the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. The Ecuadorean government said this March that it had cut off his internet access.CreditCreditMatt Dunham/Associated Press
The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2017 on the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. The Ecuadorean government said this March that it had cut off his internet access.CreditCreditMatt Dunham/Associated Press
Sweden has rescinded its arrest warrant for Mr. Assange, but prosecutors have stressed that the case has not been closed and could resume.

LONDON — Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who released reams of secret documents that embarrassed the United States government, was arrested by the British police on Thursday at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he had lived since 2012, after Ecuador withdrew the asylum it had granted him.

The Metropolitan Police said that Mr. Assange had been detained partly in connection with an extradition warrant filed by the authorities in the United States, raising the possibility that Mr. Assange, 47, could be sent there for trial on charges related to the publication of the documents.

Britain’s Home Office said in a statement that he was accused in the United States of “computer related offences.”

President Lenín Moreno of Ecuador said on Twitter that his country had decided to stop sheltering Mr. Assange after “his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols,” a decision that cleared the way for the British authorities to detain him.

The relationship between Mr. Assange and Ecuador has been a rocky one, even as it offered him refuge and even citizenship, and WikiLeaks said last Friday that Ecuador “already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest” and predicted that Mr. Assange would be expelled from the embassy “within ‘hours to days.’ ”

Video footage showed a bearded Mr. Assange being taken down the steps of the red brick embassy in the wealthy area of Knightsbridge in central London by several plainclothes police officers and put into a gray police truck that was waiting to take him away.

The United States Justice Department has charged Mr. Assange, 47, in relation to the publication of classified documents, a fact that prosecutors accidentally made public in November.

Barry J. Pollack, a lawyer for Mr. Assange, accused the United States of conducting what he said was “an unprecedented effort by the United States seeking to extradite a foreign journalist to face criminal charges for publishing truthful information.”

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