The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that Julian Assange, 47, has today, Thursday 11 April, been arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at the Embassy of Ecuador, Hans Crescent, SW1 on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court.
Mr Assange took refuge in the embassy seven years ago in order to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.
Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno said that it withdrew Mr Assange’s asylum after ‘his repeated violations to international conventions’
‘For six years and ten months, the Ecuadorian people have protected the human rights of Mr Assange and have provided for his everyday needs at the facilities of our Embassy in London.
‘When I became President of Ecuador, I inherited this situation and decided to adopt a protocol to set the daily life rules at the Embassy which is not less than anyone may expect from a guested hosted at his own house.
‘Ecuador has fulfilled it obligations in the framework of international law.
‘On the other hand, Mr Assange violated, repeatedly, clear cut provisions of the conventions on diplomatic asylum of Havana and Caracas, despite the fact that he was requested on several occasions to respect and abide by these rules.
‘He particularly violated the norm of not intervening in the internal affairs of other states.
‘The most recent incident occurred in January 2019, when WikiLeaks leaked Vatican documents.
‘Key members of that organisation visited Mr Assange before and after such illegal acts.
‘This and other publications have confirmed the world’s suspicion that Mr Assange is still linked to WikiLeaks and therefore involved in interfering in internal affairs of other states.
‘The patience of Ecuador has reached its limit on the behaviour of Mr Assange.
‘He installed electronic and distortion equipment not allowed.
‘He blocked the security cameras of the Ecuadorian Mission in London.
‘He has confronted and mistreated guards.
‘He had accessed the security files of our Embassy without permission.
‘He claimed to be isolated and rejected the Internet connection offered by the Embassy and yet he had a mobile phone with which he communicated with the outside world.
‘While Ecuador upheld the generous conditions of his asylum, Me Assange legally challenged in three different instances the legality of the protocol.
‘In all cases, the relevant judicial authorities have validated Ecuador’s position.
‘In line with our strong commitment to human rights and international law, 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, in writing, in accordance with its own rules.
‘Finally, two days ago, WikiLeaks, Mr Assange’s allied organisation, threatened the government of Ecuador.
‘My government has nothing to fear and does not act under threats.
‘Ecuador is guided by the principles of law, complies with international law and protects the interests of Ecuadorians’.
On 27th September 2018, Wikileaks made the following statement:
‘Due to the extraordinary circumstances where Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been held incommunicado (except visits by his lawyers) for six months while arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian embassy, Mr Assange has appointed Kristinn Hrafnsson Editor in Chief of WikiLeaks.
‘Mr Assange will continue to be the publisher of WikiLeaks.’
At the time of updating this article (11:37 hours) no other statements have been released by WikiLeaks.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police confirmed that Mr Assange 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.
The spokesperson confirmed
‘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’.