“Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the WikiLeaks founder was granted refuge in 2012 while on bail in the UK over sexual assault allegations against him in Sweden.
“At the time, Assange claimed that if he was extradited to Sweden he might be arrested by the US and face charges relating to WikiLeaks’s publication of hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables.”
In spite of Sweden dropping the charges the UK doggedly maintained the arrest warrant for failing to turn up in Court as he suspected he would be extradited to the US to face charges that would put him in jail for a long time, or worse.
Assange was dragged out of the embassy. WikiLeaks tweeted
Julian Assange did not "walk out of the embassy". The Ecuadorian ambassador invited British police into the embassy and he was immediately arrested.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 11, 2019
Whistle blower Edward Snowden tweeted
Images of Ecuador's ambassador inviting the UK's secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of–like it or not–award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books. Assange's critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom. https://t.co/ys1AIdh2FP
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 11, 2019
During Rafael Correa’ s government Ecuador complied with its duty to maintain Assange’s asylum but following the election of Moreno, his successor and former vice-president, the political climate changed and Ecuador sought closer ties with the US. The president began to express a view that Assange had broken the asylum rules and curtailed his access to the internet and visitors. Also it appears that Wikileaks had mentioned him in the Panama Papers and he accused the site of publishing private photographs.
Through a US court papers mistake it is known that criminal charges against Assange might have been prepared in secret.
Silvia Swinden is London reporter of Pressenza
Courtesy –Pressenza News Agency