Julian Assange arrested in London


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who published hacked emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign, was arrested Thursday in London on behalf of authorities in the U.S., police said.

"This is an extradition warrant under Section 73 of the Extradition Act," London’s Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement.

Assange, 47, "will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court as soon as possible," the department added.

Police initially said he was arrested on a warrant for failure to surrender.

A U.K. Home Office spokesman said Assange "is accused in the United States of America of computer related offences.”

Officers were “invited" into the Embassy of Ecuador in London, where Assange had been since 2012, by the ambassador "following the Ecuadorian government's withdrawal of asylum,” police said.

Lenín Moreno, the president of Ecuador, said in a tweet Thursday that the country decided to stop sheltering Assange because “his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols,” according to The New York Times.

WikiLeaks said in a tweet on Thursday that "powerful actors" were working to "dehumanise, delegitimize and imprison" Assange.

The site's editor-in-chief said on Wednesday that Assange had been subject to an "extensive spying operation" at the embassy.

"What we have established is that security cameras were used to monitor his every move, his every meeting," Kristinn Hrafnsson said at a press conference posted on Twitter.

WikiLeaks tweeted last week that Assange could be expelled from the embassy in "hours to days."

Assange in 2016 published emails from the then-Democratic presidential nominee's campaign and the Democratic National Committee. He has defended his actions, saying he was acting as a journalist.

The hacked emails were thought to have aided Russian interference ahead of the 2016 election.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) last year mistakenly revealed it had prepared charges against Assange in connection to the publishing of the emails.

“We are aware of the reports that Julian Assange was taken into custody by United Kingdom authorities. We refer you to the U.K. for comment regarding the arrest," a DOJ spokesman told the Times on Thursday.

Assange was also previously involved in a rape investigation that was dropped in 2017, and a Swedish lawyer for the alleged victim told Reuters on Thursday that she will ask prosecutors to reopen the case and extradite Assange to Sweden.

“My client and I have just received the news that Assange has been arrested. The fact that what we have been waiting and hoping for nearly seven years is now happening, of course, comes as a shock to my client,” Elisabeth Massi Fritz, the attorney, told Reuters in a text.

“We will do all we can to get prosecutors to reopen the Swedish preliminary criminal investigation so that Assange can be extradited to Sweden and be prosecuted for rape,” she added.

WikiLeaks also published tens of thousands of classified and sensitive documents and cables provided by then-Private Bradley Manning, who is now known as Chelsea Manning.

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