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WikiLeaks founder arrested after Ecuador withdraws asylum

April 11, 2019 3:24 P.M. (Updated: April 13, 2019 10:22 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, was arrested by British police at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been since 2012, after Ecuador withdrew his political asylum, on Thursday.

The British police said in a statement, "Julian Assange, 47, has today, Thursday 11 April, been arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at the Embassy of Ecuador.”

The statement added that they arrested Assange after being "invited into the embassy by the Ambassador, following the Ecuadorean government's withdrawal of asylum."

Assange took refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London 2012 to avoid being extradited, in order to not face charges in the United States, where federal prosecutors are investigating WikiLeaks.

Assange was taken into custody at a central London police station and he will be brought before Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Assange's relationship with Ecuador collapsed after being accused of leaking information about Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno's personal life, which was considered as a violation of the terms of the asylum.

Moreno announced, “Today, I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially, the trangression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.”

He added, “Ecuador sovereignly has decided to terminate the diplomatic asylum granted to Mr. Assange in 2012.”

However, Moreno said that he had requested British authorities to guarantee that Assange would not be extradited to a country “where he could face torture or the death penalty.”
The British government had agreed in writing to comply with Moreno’s request.

It is noteworthy that WikiLeaks said that Ecuador had allegedly "illegally" withdrew from Assange's political asylum in violation of international law.

Assange has raised controversy throughout the years, with some viewing him as a hero for exposing “abuse of power by modern states and for championing free speech,” nevertheless, to others, he is considered “a dangerous rebel who undermined the security of the US.”

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