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Published On: Thu, Apr 11th, 2019

Ecuador drops Julian Assange asylum status, the Wikileaks head is arrested immediately

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who released reams of secret documents that embarrassed the United States government, was arrested by the British police on Thursday at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he had lived since 2012, after Ecuador withdrew the asylum it had granted him.

The arrest came after Ecuador dropped Assange’s asylum status, effectively evicting him from their embassy. Assange hadn’t left the embassy since August 2012, fearing that if he stepped off Ecuador’s diplomatic soil he would be arrested and extradited to the U.S. for publishing thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks.

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.

photo/Espen Moe

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