Julian Assange has been forcibly arrested and taken out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after having spent 6 years in the Embassy where he was initially granted asylum.
The WikiLeaks founder and editor shouted “This is unlawful” as Police officers took him out of the embassy.
Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case, a cast that has since been dropped.
At Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday he was found guilty of failing to surrender to the court on bail.
He now faces US federal conspiracy charges related to one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets. The UK will now decide whether to extradite Assange, in response to allegations by the Department for Justice that he conspired with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to download four classified databases. If found guilty by the US courts he faces up to five years in prison in the US on the charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.
One of the Swedish women who made the 2010 allegations against Assange, whose rape case was closed by Swedish prosecutors in 2017, told the Guardian she was opposed to his extradition to the United States.
“I would be very surprised and sad if Julian is handed over to the US,” she said via email, asking for her name not to be used.
“For me this was never about anything else than his misconduct against me and other women, and his refusal to take responsibility for this. Too bad my case could never be investigated properly, but the arrest will not change this, the case cannot be opened. I am prepared to testify if the other case opens up again.
At Westminster Magistrates Court
While Assange waited for his legal team to arrive he sat in the dock reading Gore Vidal’s “history of the national security state”. He also waved and gave a thumbs up to a supporter in the public gallery clad in a yellow vest.
Assange shouted “this is unlawful” as police officers struggled to drag him from the Ecuadorian embassy this morning, the court heard. “This is unlawful, I’m not leaving,” he said.
In a tweet, Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, said: “We strongly condemn the detention of Julian Assange and the violation of freedom of speech. Our solidarity with this brother who is persecuted by the US government for revealing its human rights violations, murders of civilians and diplomatic espionage.”