Julian Assange arrested by British police at Ecuador embassy

Julian Assange arrested by British police at Ecuador embassy

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police on Thursday after they were invited into the Ecuadorean embassy where he has been holed up since 2012.

“Julian Assange, 47, has today, Thursday 11 April, been arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at the Embassy of Ecuador,” police said.

Police said they arrested Assange after being “invited into the embassy by the Ambassador, following the Ecuadorean government’s withdrawal of asylum.”

An agitated, frail-looking Assange with white hair and a white beard was carried out of the embassy by at least seven men to a waiting police van.

The arrest marks the end of one of the most peculiar turns of Assange’s tumultuous life, though his supporters said Ecuador’s termination of his asylum was illegal and feared that Assange would end up in the United States.

To some, Assange is a hero for exposing what supporters cast as abuse of power by modern states and for championing free speech. But to others, he is a dangerous rebel who has undermined the security of the United States.

WikiLeaks angered Washington by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables that laid bare often highly critical U.S. appraisals of world leaders, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.

Assange made international headlines in early 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified U.S. military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.

In 2012 he took refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy, behind the luxury department store Harrods, to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where authorities wanted to question him as part of a sexual assault investigation.

Sweden dropped that investigation in 2017, but Assange was arrested on Thursday for breaking the rules of his original bail in London. A Swedish lawyer representing the alleged rape victim said on Thursday she would push to have prosecutors reopen the investigation.