Internet activist and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange have been arrested in London at the Ecuadorian embassy. The 47-year-old was deprived of diplomatic asylum.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in London at the Embassy of Ecuador. The native Australian lived there since June 2012 in self-imposed exile. The 47-year-old wanted to avoid arrest and the feared extradition to the United States. Prior to the arrest on Thursday, the government of Ecuador’s Assange revoked diplomatic asylum on the grounds that it violated rules. The British police said the ambassador “invited” them to the embassy.
It was unclear so far, whether in the US at all an indictment against Assange – and what he is accused in the case exactly. In mid-November 2018, however, it became known that Assange’s name appeared inadvertently in a US court document. The passage suggested that there is already an indictment, but it is kept under wraps so that the Wikileaks founder weighs in safety.
Wikileaks initially appeared with the publication of secret US files, which documented, inter alia, human rights violations and the killing of civilians by American troops in Afghanistan.
Most recently, however, WikiLeaks was the focus of US investigation because the revelation website published stolen e-mails from the Democratic Party in the 2016 presidential campaign. US authorities believe the e-mails were downloaded by Russian hackers and leaked to Wikileaks. FBI special investigator Robert Mueller has also documented this aspect in his final report on presumed Russian interference in the presidential election won by Donald Trump.
Assange describes himself as a journalist and therefore claims the usual safeguard clauses for the confidentiality of sources and the publication of confidential information. Critics consider him a self-actor who has even endangered human lives. His followers see him as a scout.
When Assange fled to the diplomatic mission, he was the subject of a European arrest warrant for rape allegations in Sweden. He was afraid of being extradited first to Scandinavia and finally to the USA. However, in May, the Swedish Public Prosecutor’s Office closed its investigation.
However, Assange was not a free man yet. Scotland Yard announced that he would arrest the revelation activist as soon as he left the embassy. The British authorities accused him of violating his bail obligations when he fled to the embassy. An attempt by lawyers Assange to have the arrest warrant invalidated by a court failed.