Julian Assange arrested at Ecuadorian Embassy in London
Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, was arrested today in London at the Ecuadorian Embassy. He was handcuffed, dragged out by police, and put in a police vehicle.
Ecuador had allowed Assange to have asylum there for almost seven years, but withdrew their asylum offer.
The arrest was based on a U.S. extradition warrant. A U.S. federal court unsealed an indictment charging him with conspiracy to hack a classified Defense Department computer.
He is accused of working with Chelsea Manning in 2010 to hack into secret U.S. documents. The two worked together in 2010 to publish almost a million secret U.S. military and government documents.
Assange was also found guilty in a British court of jumping his bail in 2012 from a rape case in Sweden. The charges have since been dropped, but he did jump bail by skipping his court date and seeking refuge in the embassy. He faces one year behind bars in Britain.
Assange’s lawyer said she would fight against extradition to the U.S. and that this was a dangerous precedent for all news media.
The Ecuadorian President Moreno said in a video that Assange violated the terms of his asylum because he was discourteous and aggressive, and that he interfered in the internal affairs of other countries through Wikileaks.
The former president of Ecuador who first offered asylum to Assange, Rafael Correa, tweeted that Moreno is the greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history.
Wikileaks tweeted an image of him saying he has won dozens of journalism awards and that CIA and other powerful organizations are trying to imprison him.
The ACLU said if the U.S. prosecutes Assange for Wikileaks’ publishing operations, this would be unconstitutional and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations.
The ACLU pointed out that U.S. journalists do violate other countries’ secrecy laws to deliver information and that it would set a dangerous precedent for them.
An analysis by Axios said the charges and arrest were more about Assange the hacker than Assange the journalist.