WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was taken into custody by British authorities Thursday after seven years of living in political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy of London.
Assange has lived at the embassy since 2012 out of fear of being extradited to Sweden over sexual assault accusations. CBS reports that the warrant from the Westminster Magistrates’ Court says Assange is being arrested under criminal charges of skipping bail in the U.K., and he also faces charges in the U.S. for his organization’s repeated publication of stolen, sensitive political documents.
Assange’s arrest may not be a major surprise since Wikileaks has been signaling for the last few days that his embassy expulsion was imminent. Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has signaled his growing displeasure with Assange recently, and today, he announced on Twitter that his government is withdrawing the Wikileaks chief’s legal protections for his “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols.”
In a sovereign decision Ecuador withdrew the asylum status to Julian Assange after his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols. #EcuadorSoberano pic.twitter.com/pZsDsYNI0B
— Lenín Moreno (@Lenin) April 11, 2019
UPDATE 7:25 a.m. ET: Assange’s lawyer claimed on Twitter that Assange was arrested “in relation to a US extradition request”:
— Jen Robinson (@suigenerisjen) April 11, 2019
UPDATE 9:15 a.m. ET: The Department of Justice charged Assange with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” for agreeing to assist Chelsea Manning in hacking a Department of Defense computer.
According to a release from the Department of Justice, Assange has been charged with one count, and faces a maximum of five years in prison if convicted.
Watch above, via CNN.
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