WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested. Just hours ago, British police forcibly removed Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has taken asylum since 2012. In a statement, police said Assange was arrested “on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court.”
WikiLeaks said via Twitter that British police entered the embassy at the invitation of the Ecuadorean ambassador and that Ecuador terminated his political asylum “in violation of international law.”
Last Thursday, WikiLeaks warned Assange may soon be removed, tweeting, “A high level source within the Ecuadorian state has told WikiLeaks that Julian Assange will be expelled within 'hours to days' using the #INAPapers offshore scandal as a pretext—and that it already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest.” Earlier in the week, Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno accused Assange of leaking private photos of his family and violating the terms of his asylum, but denied the claim of an imminent expulsion after the tweet from WikiLeaks.
Julian Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in 2012 fearing possible extradition by British authorities to the U.S., where he could face prosecution under the Espionage Act. British authorities say the arrest is related to the U.S. extradition request and confirmed cooperation with Ecuador on the arrest, but also pledged that Assange would not be extradited to a country that has the death penalty. We’ll have more on the arrest after headlines.