Julian Assange Evicted, Arrested in London
Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who released reams of secret documents that embarrassed the United States government, was taken into police custody on Thursday after being evicted from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has lived for almost seven years.
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that Mr. Assange had been arrested by officers at the embassy on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court in 2012, for failing to surrender to the court.
The United States Justice Department has filed criminal charges against Mr. Assange, 47, related to the publication of classified documents, a fact that prosecutors accidentally made public in November. He also faces a charge in a British court of jumping bail.
Mr. Assange is also suspected of aiding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election by releasing material stolen from the computers of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party. In July, the Justice Department charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking those computers, and the indictment contends that at least one of them was in contact with WikiLeaks.
Assange first holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid an arrest warrant from Sweden on a rape charge back in 2012. That warrant was rescinded, but Assange has outstanding legal issues in both the US and UK, the later for jumping bail and in the States where his sealed federal indictment was accidentally revealed in court filings back in November. Meanwhile, Assange relationship with the Ecuadorian government had long since soured, with President Moreno especially looking to offload him since his election in 2017. They finally did. Now in UK custody, the legal and diplomatic wrangling on who gets their hands on Julian Assange first begins. Much more to come from this story.