UK: Julian Assange – Wikileaks co-founder arrested in London
Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Mr Assange took refuge in the embassy seven years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.
The Met Police said he was arrested for failing to surrender to the court.
Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno said it withdrew Mr Assange’s asylum after his repeated violations of international conventions.
But Wikileaks tweeted that Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Mr Assange’s political asylum “in violation of international law”.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted: “I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK.
Mr Assange, 47, had refused to leave the embassy, claiming if he did he would be extradited to the United States for questioning over the activities of Wikileaks.
Scotland Yard said it was invited into the embassy by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.
Mr Assange would remain in custody at a central London police station, before appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court “as soon as is possible”, the statement added.
UK foreign minister Sir Alan Duncan said the arrest followed “extensive dialogue between our two countries”.
It comes a day after Wikileaks said it had uncovered an extensive spying operation against its co-founder at the Ecuadorean embassy.
There has been a long-running dispute between the Ecuadorean authorities and Mr Assange about what he was and was not allowed to do in the embassy.
BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale said that over the years they have removed his access to the internet and accused him of engaging in political activities – which is not allowed when claiming asylum.
He said: “Precisely what has happened in the embassy is not clear – there has been claim and counter claim.”
Mr Assange will initially face UK legal proceedings but could be extradited to the US over the Wikileaks revelations, he added.