U.S. charges Assange after London arrest ends 7 years of solitude in Ecuador embassy
British police dragged Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorean embassy on Thursday after his seven-year asylum was revoked, paving the way for his extradition to the United States for one of the biggest ever leaks of classified information, Trend reports citing Reuters.
The frail-looking WikiLeaks founder, with white hair and a long beard, was carried head first out of the embassy in London shortly after 0900 GMT by at least seven men to a waiting police van, after shouting “This is unlawful, I’m not leaving.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May hailed the news in parliament, to cheers and cries of “Hear, hear!” from lawmakers.
“The whole House will welcome the news this morning that the Metropolitan Police have arrested Julian Assange, arrested for breach of bail after nearly seven years in the Ecuadorean embassy,” May said.
Appearing before a London court, Assange said he was not guilty of failing to surrender in 2012. District judge Michael Snow, who cast Assange as a “narcissist”, convicted him of skipping bail. Sentencing will be at a later date.
Assange’s lawyer in Quito said his life would be in danger if he were to be extradited to the United States.
Police said they had arrested Assange, 47, after being invited into the embassy following the Ecuadorean government’s withdrawal of asylum. Assange was carried out of the building carrying a copy of Gore Vidal’s “History of The National Security State”, which he continued reading in court.
Just hours later, U.S. prosecutors said they had charged Assange with conspiracy in trying to access a classified U.S. government computer with former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010.
The arrests, after nearly seven years holed up in a few cramped rooms at the embassy, mark one of the most sensational turns in a tumultuous life that has transformed the Australian programmer into a rebel wanted by the United States.