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Media captionVideo footage reveals Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy in London
Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has been arrested on the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Assange took refuge within the embassy in 2012 to keep away from extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.
At Westminster Magistrates’ Courtroom on Thursday he was discovered responsible of failing to give up to the court docket.
He now faces US federal conspiracy fees associated to one of many largest ever leaks of presidency secrets and techniques.
The UK will determine whether or not to extradite Assange, in response to allegations by the Division for Justice that he conspired with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to obtain categorized databases.
He faces as much as 5 years in US jail if convicted on the fees of conspiracy to commit laptop intrusion.
Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson mentioned they might be combating the extradition request. She mentioned it set a “harmful precedent” the place any journalist may face US fees for “publishing truthful details about america”.
She mentioned she had visited Assange within the police cells the place he thanked supporters and mentioned: “I informed you so.”
Assange had predicted that he would face extradition to the US if he left the embassy.
Profile: Julian Assange
Timeline: Julian Assange saga
What occurred in court docket?
After his arrest, the 47-year-old Australian nationwide was initially taken to a central London police station earlier than showing in court docket.
Wearing a black swimsuit and black polo shirt, he waved to the general public gallery and gave a thumbs up. He pleaded not responsible to the 2012 cost of failing to give up to the court docket.
Discovering him responsible of that cost, District Choose Michael Snow mentioned Assange’s behaviour was “the behaviour of a narcissist who can not get past his personal egocentric curiosity”.
He despatched him to Southwark Crown Courtroom for sentencing, the place he faces as much as 12 months in jail.
The court docket additionally heard that in his arrest on the embassy he needed to be restrained and shouted: “That is illegal, I’m not leaving.”
Why does the US authorities wish to extradite Assange?
Assange arrange Wikileaks in 2006 with the goal of acquiring and publishing confidential paperwork and pictures.
The organisation hit the headlines 4 years later when it launched footage of US troopers killing civilians from a helicopter in Iraq.
Former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was arrested in 2010 for disclosing greater than 700,000 confidential paperwork, movies and diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy web site.
She mentioned she solely did so to spark debates about overseas coverage, however US officers mentioned the leak put lives in danger.
Manning was lately jailed for refusing to testify earlier than an investigation into Wikileaks’ function in revealing the key information.
What are the US fees in opposition to him?
The indictment in opposition to Assange, issued final 12 months within the state of Virginia, alleges that he conspired in 2010 with Manning to entry categorized info on Division of Protection computer systems. He faces as much as 5 years in jail.
Manning downloaded 4 databases from US departments and companies between January and Could 2010, the indictment says. This info, a lot of which was categorized, was offered to Wikileaks.
The US Justice Division described it as “one of many largest compromises of categorized info within the historical past of america”.
Cracking a password saved on the computer systems, the indictment alleges, would have allowed Manning to go browsing to them in such a method as to make it tougher for investigators to find out the supply of the disclosures. It’s unclear whether or not the password was really damaged.
Correspondents say the narrowness of the cost appears supposed to keep away from falling foul of the US Structure’s First Modification assure of freedom of the press.
Why did the Ecuadorian embassy cease defending him?
The Wikileaks co-founder had been within the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, after looking for asylum there to keep away from extradition to Sweden on a rape allegation. The investigation into the alleged rape, which he denied, was later dropped.
Scotland Yard mentioned it was invited into the embassy on Thursday by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorian authorities’s withdrawal of asylum.
Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno mentioned the nation had “reached its restrict on the behaviour of Mr Assange”.
Mr Moreno mentioned: “The newest incident occurred in January 2019, when Wikileaks leaked Vatican paperwork.
“This and different publications have confirmed the world’s suspicion that Mr Assange continues to be linked to WikiLeaks and due to this fact concerned in interfering in inner affairs of different states.”
His accusations in opposition to Assange additionally included blocking safety cameras on the embassy, accessing safety information and confronting guards.
Mr Moreno mentioned the British authorities had confirmed in writing that Assange “wouldn’t be extradited to a rustic the place he may face torture or the demise penalty”.
The arrest comes a day after Wikileaks mentioned it had uncovered an in depth spying operation in opposition to its co-founder on the Ecuadorian embassy.
There was a long-running dispute between the Ecuadorian authorities and Assange about what he was and was not allowed to do within the embassy.
Ecuador court docket throws out Assange lawsuit
BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale mentioned that through the years they’d eliminated his entry to the web and accused him of partaking in political actions – which isn’t allowed when claiming asylum.
He mentioned: “Exactly what has occurred within the embassy just isn’t clear – there was declare and counter declare.”
How have folks reacted?
Prime Minister Theresa Could informed the Home of Commons: “This goes to indicate that within the UK, nobody is above the legislation.”
Overseas Secretary Jeremy Hunt mentioned the arrest was the results of “years of cautious diplomacy” and that it was “not acceptable” for somebody to “escape dealing with justice”.
However Labour’s shadow residence secretary Diane Abbott mentioned Assange was being pursued for “whistle-blowing into unlawful wars, mass homicide, homicide of civilians and corruption on a grand scale” that put him “within the cross-hairs of the US administration”.
Press freedom organisation Reporters With out Borders mentioned that the UK ought to resist extradition, as a result of it will “set a harmful precedent for journalists, whistleblowers, and different journalistic sources that the US might want to pursue sooner or later”.
Australia’s Overseas Minister Marise Payne mentioned he would proceed to obtain “the standard consular help” and that consular officers will attempt to go to him.
And actress Pamela Anderson, who has visited the embassy to help Assange, mentioned the arrest was a “vile injustice”.
Timeline: Julian Assange saga
August 2010 – The Swedish Prosecutor’s Workplace first points an arrest warrant for Assange. It says there are two separate allegations – one in every of rape and one in every of molestation. Assange says the claims are “with out foundation”
December 2010 – Assange is arrested in London and bailed on the second try
Could 2012 – The UK’s Supreme Courtroom guidelines he needs to be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over the allegations
June 2012 – Assange enters the Ecuadorean embassy in London
August 2012 – Ecuador grants asylum to Assange, saying there are fears his human rights is perhaps violated if he’s extradited
August 2015 – Swedish prosecutors drop their investigation into two allegations – one in every of sexual molestation and one in every of illegal coercion as a result of they’ve run out of time to query him. However he nonetheless faces the extra critical accusation of rape.
October 2015 – Metropolitan Police proclaims that officers will not be stationed outdoors the Ecuadorean embassy
February 2016 – A UN panel guidelines that Assange has been “arbitrarily detained” by UK and Swedish authorities since 2010
Could 2017 – Sweden’s director of public prosecutions proclaims that the rape investigation into Assange is being dropped
July 2018 – The UK and Ecuador verify they’re holding ongoing talks over the destiny of Assange
October 2018 – Assange is given a set of home guidelines on the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He then launches authorized motion in opposition to the federal government of Ecuador
December 2018 – Assange’s lawyer rejects an settlement introduced by Ecuador’s president to see him depart the Ecuadorean embassy
February 2019 – Australia grants Assange a brand new passport amid fears Ecuador might convey his asylum to an finish
April 2019 – The Metropolitan Police arrests him for “failing to give up to the court docket” over a warrant issued in 2012. He’s discovered responsible and faces as much as 12 months in jail, in addition to extradition over US fees of conspiracy to commit laptop intrusion.