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U.S. indicts Julian Assange on charges of hacking hundreds of thousands of classified documents

Federal prosecutors charged Julian Assange Thursday with conspiring to hack hundreds of thousands of classified secrets in an indictment unsealed after the Wikileaks founder’s dramatic arrest that ended his seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. 

The government formally accused Assange of taking part in one of the largest leaks of classified information in the nation’s history by conspiring with Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to steal American secrets in an indictment unsealed hours after he was dragged kicking and protesting from the embassy he had holed up in to avoid being sent to the U.S.

Assange participated in the hacking in ‘real-time’ and encouraged Manning to get the secrets, according to prosecutors – a charge that accuses Assange of taking part in the act, rather than being merely the recipient of classified information, as a journalist might be in a situation that might invite a First Amendment defense.

The arrest in London will be followed by an extradition hearing, putting Assange on a path to finally facing trial in the U.S. for the leak, starting in April 2010, of the secrets of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, and diplomatic cables, all of which were said to have put American lives at risk.

But so far he has only been indicted in the U.S. on computer hacking charges, which carry just a maximum five year sentence. 

In a day of drama:

  • Ecuador revoked Assange’s diplomatic asylum, which had allowed him to live in its London embassy, with its president Lenin Moreno blaming his ‘discourteous and aggressive behavior’;
  • Seven British police officers dragged the disheveled 47-year-old out of the embassy at 10a.m. local time after he tried to barge past them, and carried him out to a waiting van as he shouted ‘UK, you must resist’;
  • His ex-girlfriend Pamela Anderson furiously tweeted: ‘How could you UK? Of course – you are America’s b***h and you need a diversion from your idiotic Brexit b******t. ‘
  • Assange appeared in court in London and was formally found guilty of skipping bail in 2012 when he was facing extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault. The British judge on Thursday branded him a ‘narcissist’ and his defense – that he would not face a fair trial, so skipped bail – ‘laughable’;
  • In the U.S. Donald Trump, who had called Wikileaks a ‘treasure trove’ when it published thousands of Clinton campaign emails, said ‘I know nothing about Wikileaks, it’s not my thing.’
  • Democrats said Assange knew ‘something’ about the Clinton emails and one senior Democratic aide said: ‘Why not do this before the Mueller report is done?’
  • Swedish prosecutors said they would re-open one of the rape cases which Assange had skipped bail and claimed asylum to avoid being prosecuted for, opening the way for him to also be sent to Sweden;
  • Ecuador was revealed to have struck a $10 billion deal with international lenders including the IMF and the World Bank to bail out its troubled economy just weeks ago, after years of being frozen out by countries including the U.S. 

Assange immediately faces up to 12 months in prison in Britain for skipping bail, but is also beginning what his legal team said would be a battle to stop him being brought to the U.S. for trial. It is unclear how long it could take to be resolved.

His British lawyer Jennifer Robinson said the Wikileaks founder will fight extradition, adding that he thanked supporters and said ‘I told you so’ when she visited him in his police cell.

Assange on the way to court

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates Court today

The court heard how Assange resisted arrest and tried to barge past officers in an attempt to return to his private room within the embassy when they introduced themselves at about 10am, telling them: 'This is unlawful'

The court heard how Assange resisted arrest and tried to barge past officers in an attempt to return to his private room within the embassy when they introduced themselves at about 10am, telling them: ‘This is unlawful’

Julian Assange pictured as he is led out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in handcuffs following his sensational arrest by British police today

Julian Assange pictured as he is led out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in handcuffs following his sensational arrest by British police today

Anger: How Pamela Anderson, Julian Assange's ex-girlfriend, reacted to the arrest - accusing the UK of arresting him as a 'diversion from your idiotic Brexit b******t'

Anger: How Pamela Anderson, Julian Assange's ex-girlfriend, reacted to the arrest - accusing the UK of arresting him as a 'diversion from your idiotic Brexit b******t'

Anger: How Pamela Anderson, Julian Assange’s ex-girlfriend, reacted to the arrest – accusing the UK of arresting him as a ‘diversion from your idiotic Brexit b******t’

The US Department of Justice said Julian Assange had been arrested over an alleged conspiracy with Chelsea Manning “to break a password to a classified US government computer”

Indictment form for Julian Assange

The US Department of Justice, releasing this indictment form, said Julian Assange had been arrested over an alleged conspiracy with Chelsea Manning ‘to break a password to a classified US government computer’

Aftermath: Donald Trump was questioned in the Oval Office where he was meeting South Korean president Mooon Jae-in about the arrest and said: 'I know nothing about Wikileaks.' He had previously called its publication of Clinton emails 'a treasure trove'

Aftermath: Donald Trump was questioned in the Oval Office where he was meeting South Korean president Mooon Jae-in about the arrest and said: ‘I know nothing about Wikileaks.’ He had previously called its publication of Clinton emails ‘a treasure trove’

‘How could you UK? You’re America’s b****!’ Pamela Anderson slams Britain as she tweets support for Assange

American-Canadian actress Pamela Anderson has hit out at the UK after Julian Assange’s arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The 51-year-old, who was previously in a relationship with Assange said she was in shock at the arrest.

Pamela Anderson arrives to meet Assange at the embassy in 2017

Pamela Anderson arrives to meet Assange at the embassy in 2017

Taking to Twitter she commented on his appearance and said he looked ‘very bad’.

She said:  ‘How could you Equador ? (Because he exposed you). How could you UK? Of course – you are America’s b**** and you need a diversion from your idiotic Brexit b*******. ‘

She also called out the USA and described President Donald Trump as ‘toxic’.

She added:  ‘This toxic coward of a President He needs to rally his base? – You are selfish and cruel. You have taken the entire world backwards.

‘You are devils and liars and thieves. And you will ROTT And WE WILL RISE ✊.’

Ms Anderson then re-tweeted videos of Assange’s arrest before posting a photo of him with the caption ‘veritas valebit’, which is Latin for ‘truth will prevail’.

The arrest finally puts Assange on a path to where he could face trial in the U.S. – after the national security and criminal justice apparatus looked on as he took up residence in the embassy after releasing hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and activity reports from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Obama administration said at the time WikiLeaks published the classified documents that it put U.S. personnel and sources in grave danger.

The federal criminal investigation into Assange’s activities dates back to the Obama administration, which nevertheless opted not to charge him for the release of material that Assange and his lawyers have compared to an act of journalism protected by the First Amendment.  

According to the indictment, on March 8, 2010, Assange ‘agreed to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on United States Defense Department computers.’ 

The Justice Department said in a statement: ‘During the conspiracy, Manning and Assange engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning’s transmission of classified records to Assange. The discussions also reflect Assange actively encouraging Manning to provide more information. During an exchange, Manning told Assange that ‘after this upload, that’s all I really have got left.’ To which Assange replied, ‘curious eyes never run dry in my experience.’ 

The indictment further claims that Manning, who previously went by Bradley Manning, gave Assange a portion of a password to ‘crack’ in order to obtain access to files for users with ‘administrative-level privileges.’

Manning was tried in military court for the leak and received a 35-year sentence. President Barack Obama commuted all but four months of time remaining on Manning’s sentence after she served seven years, twice attempting to take her own life. 

CNN reported that Assange could place additional charges. A court filing in November accidentally revealed that Assange had been charged. 

Assange’s lawyer, Jenifer Robinson, spoke outside the courthouse where he was taken for an initial hearing, and defended Assange on press freedom grounds.

‘This sets a dangerous precedent for all media organizations and journalists in Europe and elsewhere around the world. This precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the Unites States for having published truthful information about the United States,’ she said. 

Said WikiLeaks editor in chief Kristinn Hrafnsson: ‘It’s called conspiracy. It’s conspiracy to commit journalism.’ 

The government describes the two as reaching an ‘password-cracking agreement’ in order to obtain documents. Manning had already provided WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of classified documents – including activities reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the government. 

In describing the alleged conspiracy, prosecutors say Manning gave Assange ‘part of a password’ stored on Defense Department computers. Assange told Manning he was trying to crack the password. But the indictment does not say that the effort actually succeeded. 

The grand jury indictment is dated March 6, 2018, and was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, a venue for many prominent federal cases with national security implications. 

It also describes Assange’s efforts to encourage further removal of classified documents by Manning. On March 8, 2010, Manning told Assange she was ‘throwing everything’ at the effort to secure assessment briefs from detainees being held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Manning also told Assange at the time that ‘after this upload, that’s all I really have got left,’ Assange encouraged her to do more. ‘Curious eyes never run dry in my experience,’ Assange wrote, according to the government. Following the exchange, over a period of days that ran through April 9, Manning downloaded State Department cables that WikiLeaks would later publish – causing a rash of diplomatic headaches for U.S. officials working around the globe.

Manning’s release came as Ecuador, which had granted him asylum for years, agreed to receive $10 billion in financial aid from the International Monetary Fund and other global development bodies.

A handcuffed Assange is pictured in a van with police officers as he makes his way to Westminster Magistrates Court in London ahead of his hearing

A handcuffed Assange is pictured in a van with police officers as he makes his way to Westminster Magistrates Court in London ahead of his hearing

According to the agreement, announced Thursday, the IMF would provide Ecuador with $4.2 billion in loans. Other infusions would come from the World Bank, the Development Bank of Latin America, the Inter-American Development Bank, as well as the Latin American Reserve Fund, AFP reported.

Curious eyes never run dry in my experience.’ – Julian Assange to Manning 

The formal charge states that Assange ‘did knowingly and intentionally combine, conspire, confederate and agree with other co-conspirators known and unknown to the Grand Jury to commit an offense against the United States.’

The charge of Charged with Conspiracy to Commit Computer Intrusion carries a term of up to five years in prison. Prosecutors did not file any charge relating to hacking related to the 2016 presidential election. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors wrote in a court filing that they have obtained evidence of longtime Donald Trump advisor Roger Stone communicating with WikiLeaks about hacked Democratic emails. The filing said the government obtained communications between Stone and ‘Organization 1,’ but didn’t say what was included. 

A British judge ordered Assange to remain in custody and appear for a May 2 extradition hearing. 

Donald Trump repeatedly praised WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign as the site released reams of damaging information about his opponent Hillary Clinton after the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign chair were hacked.

‘WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks,’ Trump said in October 2016 at a Pennsylvania rally. ‘This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove,’ Trump said days before the election while campaigning in Michigan. 

He said Thursday when asked about the arrest: ‘I know nothing about Wikileaks. It’s not my thing. And I know there was something having to do with Julian Assange. I’ve been seeing what was happening with Assange.’ Trump continued: ‘That will be a determination, I would imagine, mostly by the attorney general, who is doing an excellent job. So he will be making a determination. I know nothing really about it – it’s not my deal in life.’

The language in the indictment says Assange ‘encouraged’ Manning to provide information, and reached an ‘agreement to crack the password’ stored on Defense Department computers.

It does not actually state that Assange succeeded in the effort. In fact, it quotes Assange as seeking more information from Manning on March 10, 2010, telling him he had been trying to crack the password but had ‘no luck so far.’ 

Assange was arrested by British police today after being hauled out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London following an extradition request by the US.

The Wikileaks founder, sporting a scruffy beard and unkempt hair, was dragged out of the building head-first in handcuffs by a group of seven men as his stunned supporters watched on as he screamed out ‘the UK must resist’.

Shortly after, British authorities confirmed that the whistleblower was being held on behalf of the US, as well as for breaching bail conditions following rape allegations in Sweden dating back to 2010.

WikiLeaks confirmed Assange had been arrested under a U.S. extradition warrant for conspiracy with American whistleblower Chelsea Manning for publishing classified information revealing war crimes, also in 2010. 

It comes after Ecuador dramatically withdrew Assange’s asylum status after seven years, blaming the Australian’s ‘discourteous and aggressive behavior’ in continuing to work with WikiLeaks while housed at the embassy.

Assange has always feared extradition to the U.S., where his lawyers have claimed he could face the death penalty for the mass leaking of highly-classified documents through WikiLeaks.

It was accidentally revealed in November that Assange had been secretly indicted by federal prosecutors, but the exact nature of the charges against the 47-year-old was not disclosed.  

In a statement today, Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno accused Assange of violating the terms of his asylum by ‘interfering in internal affairs of other states’ as well as ‘blocking security cameras’ and ‘mistreating guards’.

The arrest came just 24 hours after Wikileaks accused Ecuador of an ‘extensive spying operation’, adding that it assumed intel had been handed over to the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Assange, who has overseen the publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks, is currently in custody and is set to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today. 

News of his arrest was praised by Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who said ‘no one was above the law’, while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added Assange was ‘no hero’ and claimed he had ‘hidden from the truth for years’. 

Julian Assange pictured as he is led out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in handcuffs following his sensational arrest by British police today

Julian Assange pictured as he is led out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in handcuffs following his sensational arrest by British police today

The Wikileaks founder was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in handcuffs by a large group of men as stunned supporters and protesters watched on in central London

The Wikileaks founder was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in handcuffs by a large group of men as stunned supporters and protesters watched on in central London

Julian Assange (pictured bottom left) as he is arrested by police after being ejected from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London

Julian Assange (pictured bottom left) as he is arrested by police after being ejected from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London

Assange is loaded into the back of a police van in central London before being taken away ahead of a court appearance in Westminster

Assange is loaded into the back of a police van in central London before being taken away ahead of a court appearance in Westminster

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (pictured in May 2017) came under intense scrutiny after the website began releasing hundreds of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (pictured in May 2017) came under intense scrutiny after the website began releasing hundreds of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables

In a statement, the Home Office said: ‘We can confirm that Julian Assange was arrested in relation to a provisional extradition request from the United States of America.

‘He is accused in the United States of America computer related offences.’

Assange has not left Ecuador’s diplomatic soil since 2012, when the country offered diplomatic protection from allegations of sexual assault in Sweden.

The case was eventually dropped as investigators were unable to formally notify Assange of the allegations, however Swedish prosecutors revealed today that the case could now be revisited following his arrest. 

Moments after the arrest, during which Assange held on to a Gore Vidal book on the history of the national security state, WikiLeaks said Ecuador had acted illegally and ‘in violation of international law’. 

In a statement today, Ecuador’s president claimed to have asked Britain to guarantee that Assange would not be extradited to any country where he could face torture or the death penalty.   

Mr Javid said: ‘Nearly seven years after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK. 

‘I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation & for its professionalism. No one is above the law.’ 

Shortly after his arrest, vocal supporter and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson tweeted a black and white photo of Assange along with the caption ‘Veritas Valebit’, which is Latin for ‘the truth will prevail’.

The 51-year-old, who claims she was previously in a relationship with Assange, said she was in shock at the arrest.

Taking to Twitter she commented on his appearance and said he looked ‘very bad’.

She said: ‘How could you Equador ? (Because he exposed you). How could you UK? Of course – you are America’s b***h and you need a diversion from your idiotic Brexit b*******. ‘

She also called out the USA and described President Donald Trump as ‘toxic’.

She added: ‘This toxic coward of a President He needs to rally his base? – You are selfish and cruel. You have taken the entire world backwards.

A police van sits outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police and taken into custody following the Ecuadorian government's withdrawal of asylum

A police van sits outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police and taken into custody following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum

Moments after the arrest, WikiLeaks said Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Assange's political asylum 'in violation of international law'

Moments after the arrest, WikiLeaks said Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Assange’s political asylum ‘in violation of international law’

British police are pictured arriving at the embassy moments before the WikiLeaks founder was dragged outside in handcuffs

British police are pictured arriving at the embassy moments before the WikiLeaks founder was dragged outside in handcuffs

Media gathers outside Westminster Magistrates Court where Julian Assange is set to appear after his arrest by Metropolitan Police

Media gathers outside Westminster Magistrates Court where Julian Assange is set to appear after his arrest by Metropolitan Police

Ecuador president slams ‘discourteous and aggressive behaviour’ of Julian Assange as he reveals UK was asked to guarantee he wouldn’t be extradited to a country with the death penalty

Lenin Moreno, President of Ecuador, said in a statement on Julian Assange that he had displayed ‘discourteous and aggressive behaviour’.

He said: ‘Ecuador sovereignly has decided to terminate the diplomatic asylum granted to Mr Assange in 2012. For six years and 10 months, the Ecuadorian people have protected the human rights of Mr Assange and have provided for his everyday needs at the facilities of our Embassy in London. 

Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno speaks in a televised address about Julian Assange

Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno speaks in a televised address about Julian Assange

‘Ecuador has fulfilled its obligations in the framework of international law. On the other hand, Mr Assange violated, repeatedly, clear cut provisions of the conventions on diplomatic asylum of Havana and Caracas; despite the fact that he was requested on several occasions to respect and abide by these rules.

‘He particularly violated the norm of not intervening in the internal affairs of other states. The most recent incident occurred in January 2019, when WikiLeaks leaked Vatican documents. Key members of that organisation visited Mr Assange before and after such illegal acts.

‘This and other publications have confirmed the world’s suspicion that Mr Assange is still linked to WikiLeaks and therefore involved in interfering in internal affairs of other states.

‘The patience of Ecuador has reached its limit on the behaviour of Mr Assange. He installed electronic and distortion equipment not allowed. He blocked the security cameras of the Ecuadorian Mission in London.

‘He has confronted and mistreated guards. He had accessed the security files of our Embassy without permission. He claimed to be isolated and rejected the internet connection offered by the Embassy, and yet he had a mobile phone with which he communicated with the outside world.’ 

‘You are devils and liars and thieves. And you will ROTT And WE WILL RISE ✊.’ 

Meanwhile, US whistleblower Edward Snowden warned the arrest was a ‘dark moment for press freedom’.

Snowden tweeted: ‘Images of Ecuador’s ambassador inviting the UK’s secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of-like it or not-award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books.

‘Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom.’

Snowden is currently living in exile Russia having fled the US after leaking a huge cache of declassified documents back in 2013.

The Former CIA agent has been a longstanding supporter of Assange’s cause having allegedly been helped by the WikiLeaks founder in handing over the secret documents to journalists.

Assange’s arrest comes a day after Wikileaks accused the Ecuadorean Government of an ‘extensive spying operation’.

In a press conference on Wednesday, it was alleged that the WikiLeaks founder’s meetings with lawyers and a doctor inside the Ecuador embassy in London over the past year had been secretly filmed.

The anti-secrecy organization said it had been offered all the material from an unnamed person in Spain, if it paid €3million (£2.6million). 

WikiLeaks also told how it assumed the information had been handed over to the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Assange had refused to leave the embassy, claiming he would be extradited to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he did so.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said following the arrest: ‘What we have shown today is that nobody is above the law – Julian Assange is no hero. 

‘He’s hidden from the truth for years and years and it’s right that his future should be decided in the British judicial system.’

He added: ‘What has happened today is the result of years of careful diplomacy by the Foreign Office.’

Mr Hunt added: ‘[It’s] a very courageous decision by President Moreno in Ecuador to resolve this situation that’s been going on for nearly seven years.

‘It’s not so much that Julian Assange was being held hostage in the Ecuadorian Embassy, it was actually Julian Assange holding the Ecuadorian Embassy hostage. It was a situation that was absolutely intolerable to them.’

In a statement this morning, Scotland Yard said: ‘Julian Assange, 47, has today, Thursday 11 April, been arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at the Embassy of Ecuador, Hans Crescent, SW1 on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court.

‘He has been taken into custody at a central London police station where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as is possible.

‘The MPS had a duty to execute the warrant, on behalf of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, and was invited into the embassy by the Ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.’ 

WikiLeaks tweeted: ‘URGENT: Ecuador has illigally (sic) terminated Assange political asylum in violation of international law.

‘He was arrested by the British police inside the Ecuadorian embassy minutes ago.’

Shortly after his arrest, vocal supporter and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson tweeted a black and white photo of Assange along with the caption 'Veritas Valebit', which is Latin for 'the truth will prevail'

Taking to Twitter she commented on his appearance and said he looked 'very bad'

Shortly after his arrest, vocal supporter and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson tweeted a black and white photo of Assange along with the caption ‘Veritas Valebit’, which is Latin for ‘the truth will prevail’

Fidel Narvaez (left), former consul of Ecuador to London, looks at some of the footage, alongside WikiLeaks editor in chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and barrister Jennifer Robinson today

Fidel Narvaez (left), former consul of Ecuador to London, looks at some of the footage, alongside WikiLeaks editor in chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and barrister Jennifer Robinson today

Mr Narvaez, Mr Hrafnsson and Ms Robinson at Doughty Street Chambers in London today

Mr Narvaez, Mr Hrafnsson and Ms Robinson at Doughty Street Chambers in London today

This graphic shows where Assange was allowed to go within the Ecuadorean Embassy in London during his near seven years living there

This graphic shows where Assange was allowed to go within the Ecuadorean Embassy in London during his near seven years living there

Pamela Anderson tweets support for arrested Assange

American-Canadian actress Pamela Anderson has hit out at the UK after Julian Assange’s arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The 51-year-old, who was previously in a relationship with Assange said she was in shock at the arrest.

Taking to Twitter she commented on his appearance and said he looked ‘very bad’.

She said:  ‘How could you Equador ? (Because he exposed you). How could you UK? Of course – you are America’s bitch and you need a diversion from your idiotic Brexit b*******. ‘

She also called out the USA and described President Donald Trump as ‘toxic’.

She added:  ‘This toxic coward of a President He needs to rally his base? – You are selfish and cruel. You have taken the entire world backwards.

‘You are devils and liars and thieves. And you will ROTT And WE WILL RISE ✊.’

Ms Anderson then re-tweeted videos of Assange’s arrest before posting a photo of him with the caption ‘veritas valebit’, which is Latin for ‘truth will prevail’.

Lenin Moreno, President of Ecuador, said in a statement on Assange: ‘Ecuador is a generous country and a nation with open arms.

‘Ours is a government respectful of the principles of international law, and of the institution of the right of asylum.

‘Granting or withdrawing asylum is a sovereign right of the Ecuadorian state, according to international law.

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

‘Ecuador sovereignly has decided to terminate the diplomatic asylum granted to Mr Assange in 2012.

‘For six years and 10 months, the Ecuadorian people have protected the human rights of Mr Assange and have provided for his everyday needs at the facilities of our Embassy in London.

‘When I became the President of Ecuador, I inherited this situation and decided to adopt a protocol to set the daily life rules at the Embassy, which is less than anyone may expect from a guest hosted at his own house.

‘Ecuador has fulfilled its obligations in the framework of international law.

‘On the other hand, Mr Assange violated, repeatedly, clear cut provisions of the conventions on diplomatic asylum of Havana and Caracas; despite the fact that he was requested on several occasions to respect and abide by these rules.’

Rafael Correa, who was Ecuadorian president when Assange was granted asylum, has strongly condemned his successor’s decision.

He tweeted that Lenin Moreno was the ‘greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history’. 

An Assange supporter outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London's Knightsbridge last week, where protesters have gathered for seven years in support of the WikiLeaks founder

An Assange supporter outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London’s Knightsbridge last week, where protesters have gathered for seven years in support of the WikiLeaks founder

Lawyer for Julian Assange’s alleged Swedish rape victim says ‘we will do all we can to make prosecutors reopen investigation’

The Swedish lawyer of Julian Assange’s alleged rape victim is pushing to reopen the case that was dropped in 2017.

Lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz says she would ‘do all we can to make prosecutors reopen investigation’ in the wake of the Wikileaks founder’s arrest today.

She said: ‘My client and I have just received the news that Assange has been arrested.

‘The fact that what we have been waiting and hoping for nearly seven years is now happening, of course, comes as a shock to my client.

‘We will do all we can to get prosecutors to reopen the Swedish preliminary criminal investigation so that Assange can be extradited to Sweden and be prosecuted for rape.’

Assange was arrested by British police today after Ecuador dramatically withdrew political asylum seven years after he was given refuge in the country’s London embassy.

Julian Assange, center, arrives for his extradition hearing at the High Court in London in 2011. He would walk into the Ecuadorian embassy as a political asylum seeker the following year

Julian Assange, center, arrives for his extradition hearing at the High Court in London in 2011. He would walk into the Ecuadorian embassy as a political asylum seeker the following year

Julian Assange’s arrest branded a ‘dark moment for press freedom’

US whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned the arrest of Julian Assange is a ‘dark moment for press freedom’.

Soon after Assange’s arrest in London today, Snowden tweeted: ‘Images of Ecuador’s ambassador inviting the UK’s secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of-like it or not-award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books.

Edward Snowden (pictured) said critics would cheer at the arrest

Edward Snowden (pictured) said critics would cheer at the arrest

‘Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom.’

Snowden is currently living in exile Russia having fled the US after leaking a huge cache of declassified documents back in 2013.

The Former CIA agent has been a longstanding supporter of Assange’s cause having allegedly been helped by the WikiLeaks founder in handing over the secret documents to journalists.

The 47-year-old has not left Ecuador’s diplomatic soil since 2012, when the country offered diplomatic protection from allegations of sexual assault in Sweden.

While the case was eventually dropped, Assange has always feared extradition to the US where his lawyers have claimed he could face the death penalty for the leaking of highly-classified documents.

An international warrant for arrest was issued on November 18 2010 for Assange on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion – which he denies.

He has since lived inside the embassy in Knightsbridge for seven years when Swedish authorities requested his extradition as a suspect in the rape case.

A into his time at the embassy, Assange told journalists he would not leave even if the sex charges against him were dropped, due to fears he would be extradited to the US for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks.

In 2015, investigations into the sex allegations were dropped because Swedish authorities ran out of time to question him – but the case of suspected rape remained open.

A senior Swedish prosecutor interviewed Assange a year later over the course of two days over the allegations of rape. But in 2017, Swedish authorities suddenly dropped the rape allegations.

The Wikileaks founder was dragged head-first in handcuffs today by a group of seven men today as stunned supporters and protesters watched on in central London as he screamed out ‘the UK must resist’.

Assange, who has overseen the publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks, is currently in custody and is set to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court ‘as soon as possible’.

Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno said the decision to withdraw Assange’s asylum status came after the ‘repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols’ and his ‘discourteous and aggressive behavior’.

In 2015, investigations into the sex allegations of Assange were dropped because Swedish authorities ran out of time to question him - but the case of suspected rape remained open

In 2015, investigations into the sex allegations of Assange were dropped because Swedish authorities ran out of time to question him – but the case of suspected rape remained open

In a statement today, Ecuador’s president added that he had asked Britain to guarantee that Assange would not be extradited to any country where he could face torture or the death penalty.

The news of his arrest was immediately confirmed by Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Twitter, who said that ‘no one was above the law’.

In a statement this morning, Scotland Yard said: ‘Julian Assange, 47, has today, Thursday 11 April, been arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at the Embassy of Ecuador, Hans Crescent, SW1 on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court.

‘He has been taken into custody at a central London police station where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as is possible.

‘The MPS had a duty to execute the warrant, on behalf of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, and was invited into the embassy by the Ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.’

Julian Assange’s fight for freedom: A timeline of the WikiLeaks founder’s decade in the limelight

Julian Assange remains a polarizing figure after facing intense scrutiny following Wikileaks’ release of hundreds of thousands classified US diplomatic cables.

Here is a timeline of how Assange made himself America’s enemy and ended up being hauled out of Ecuadorian embassy in London and charged with conspiracy by the U.S.:

2010

August: An arrest warrant is issued for Mr Assange for two separate allegations – one of rape and one of molestation – after he visits Sweden for a speaking trip. He is questioned by police in Stockholm and denies the allegations.

November: Stockholm District Court approves a request to detain the WikiLeaks founder for questioning on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. An international arrest warrant is issued by Swedish police through Interpol.

December: Mr Assange presents himself to London police and appears at an extradition hearing where he is remanded in custody. At a later hearing, he is granted conditional bail but is kept behind bars after Swedish authorities challenge the decision.

Mr Assange is granted conditional bail at the High Court in London after his supporters pay £240,000 in cash and sureties.

2011

February: District Judge Howard Riddle rules that Mr Assange should be extradited to Sweden and denies this would breach his human rights. Mr Assange vows to fight the decision.

November: Mr Assange loses a High Court appeal against the decision to extradite him.

2012

May: The UK Supreme Court upholds the High Court decision in the case, ruling that extradition is lawful and can go ahead. The Supreme Court later rejects a move by Mr Assange to reopen his appeal against his extradition, saying it is ‘without merit’.

June 19: Mr Assange enters the Ecuadorian embassy in London, requesting political asylum. A day later, Scotland Yard confirms he will be subject to arrest for breaching his bail conditions.

August 16: Mr Assange is granted political asylum by Ecuador, through its serving president Rafael Correa.

August 19: Mr Assange makes his first public appearance in two months on the Ecuadorian embassy’s balcony and calls for the US government to ‘renounce its witch-hunt’ against WikiLeaks.

November: Ecuador’s ambassador to the UK, Ana Alban, says Mr Assange is suffering a chronic lung condition after spending months inside a one-room office at the embassy. The Ecuadorian government later plays down the health fears and says Mr Assange ‘does not have an urgent medical condition’.

December: Mr Assange marks the six-month anniversary inside the embassy by making a rare public appearance on balcony to say the ‘door is open’ for talks to break the deadlock over his campaign to avoid extradition to Sweden.

2013

June: Mr Assange tells a group of journalists he will not leave the embassy even if sex charges against him are dropped, because he fears moves are already under way to extradite him to the United States.

2014

July: Mr Assange loses a legal bid to have an arrest warrant issued in Sweden against him cancelled. A judge in Stockholm decided to uphold the warrant against him for alleged sexual offences against two women.

August: Mr Assange tells a press conference he will be leaving the embassy soon following speculation that he is seeking hospital treatment for heart and lung problems. He later brushes off reports that he is about to give up his fight against extradition to Sweden.

November: Mr Assange loses a legal move in a Swedish appeal court aimed at revoking his arrest warrant.

December: Mr Assange appears on the embassy’s balcony to greet Noam Chomsky, the US philosopher and activist. Hollywood actor John Cusack also visits the WikiLeaks founder later in the month.

2015

Julian Assange speaking on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy two months after he entered in June 2012

Julian Assange speaking on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy two months after he entered in June 2012

March: Swedish prosecutors ask to question Mr Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

June: Mr Assange claims the Swedish prosecutor has cancelled an appointment to interview him at the embassy.

August 13: Swedish prosecutors drop investigations into some of the sex allegations against Mr Assange due to time restrictions. The investigation into suspected rape remains active.

August 16: Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire said Ecuador’s decision to harbour Mr Assange in its embassy had prevented the proper course of justice. He said the UK continued to have a legal obligation to extradite him to Sweden, where he remained suspected of a sexual offence.

October 12: Metropolitan Police end their 24-hour guard outside the Ecuadorian Embassy. It breaks a three-year police operation which is estimated to have cost more than £12 million.

2016

February 5: The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention says Mr Assange is being ‘arbitrarily detained’ in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and calls on authorities to end his ‘deprivation of liberty’.

The report is branded ‘frankly ridiculous’ by then foreign secretary Philip Hammond – a response which Mr Assange described as ‘insulting’.

February 9: Swedish prosecutors say they are working on a renewed request to interview Mr Assange at the embassy.

February 22: Lawyers for Mr Assange submit papers to a Swedish court, asking for his arrest warrant to be overturned.

March 24: The Government formally asks a UN Working Group to review its finding that Mr Assange was subject to arbitrary detention, saying the opinion was ‘deeply flawed’.

March 25: A Swedish court refuses to drop an arrest warrant against Mr Assange.

June 20: Ecuador reveals it has received a formal request from the Swedish authorities to interview Mr Assange.

August 9: Mr Assange files an appeal at Sweden’s Court of Appeal of Svea, arguing the country must comply with the UN working group’s findings that his deprivation of liberty was unlawful.

August 11: Ecuador announces that Mr Assange will be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in the embassy in London.

September 16: Sweden’s Court of Appeal rejects a bid by Mr Assange to have his sex assault warrant dropped, saying no new information has emerged.

November 14: Mr Assange is questioned over the sex allegation at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the presence of Sweden’s assistant prosecutor Ingrid Isgren and police inspector Cecilia Redell. The interview spans two days.

November 30: The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention rejects a request by the UK Government to review the case of Mr Assange.

2017

January 17: Barack Obama’s decision to free whistleblower Chelsea Manning prompts speculation Mr Assange will end his self-imposed exile. WikiLeaks tweeted prior to the decision: ‘If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ (Department of Justice) case.’

January 19: Mr Assange tells a press conference that he stands by his offer to go to the US, provided his rights are respected.

March 9: Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage is spotted leaving the embassy where Mr Assange is being held.

April 21: America’s attorney general Jeff Sessions says Mr Assange’s arrest is a ‘priority’ for the United States.

May 19: An investigation into a sex allegation against Mr Assange is suddenly dropped by Sweden’s Director of Public Prosecution.

May 24: Lenin Moreno becomes the new president of Ecuador. This spells trouble for Assange, as Moreno is known to want to improve diplomatic relations between his country and the US.

June 16: Mr Assange calls off a pre-planned speech from the embassy balcony to mark the fifth anniversary of his arrival there, following news of an ‘imminent meeting’ with British authorities.

2018

January 11: The UK Foreign Office turns down a request from the Ecuadorian government to grant Mr Assange diplomatic status.

Ecuador confirms it has granted citizenship to Mr Assange in December after he made a request in September.

January 26: Lawyers for Mr Assange tell a court the UK arrest warrant against him has ‘lost its purpose and its function’.

February 6: Westminster Magistrates’ Court says that the UK arrest warrant is still valid. Mr Assange vows to continue his legal fight. He later claims a package containing a ‘threat’ and white substance was sent to him at the Ecuadorian Embassy.

February 7: Visits to Mr Assange from Pamela Anderson and Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel are reported.

February 13: Westminster Magistrates’ Court upholds the warrant for the arrest of Mr Assange for skipping bail, in a judgment by Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot.

She urges him to show the ‘courage’ to appear in court.

March 28: The Ecuadorian Embassy suspends Mr Assange’s internet access.

The Ecuador Government says: ‘The measure was adopted due to Assange not complying with a written promise which he made with the government in late 2017, by which he was obliged not to send messages which entailed interference in relation to other states.’

Supporters, including actress Pamela Anderson, musician Brian Eno, fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood and former Greek minister Yanis Varoufaki, urge Ecuador to reverse the ban.

June 7: Mr Assange receives a visit from officials from the Australian High Commission.

June 19: Vigils in several countries mark six years since Mr Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy.

July 30: Dame Vivienne Westwood designs a new T-shirt in support of the WikiLeaks founder, with a slogan which reads: ‘I fought the law’.

August 9: The United States Senate committee asks to interview Mr Assange as part of their investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

September 27: Mr Assange steps down as editor of WikiLeaks.

October 19: Mr Assange reveals he is to launch legal action against the government of Ecuador, accusing it of violating his ‘fundamental rights and freedoms’.

November 16: The US Department of Justice inadvertently names Mr Assange in a court document which suggests the WikiLeaks founder may have been charged in secret.

December 20: Mr Assange’s father calls for the end to his son’s ‘torment’, following a visit to the embassy.

2019

January 10: A legal defence fund is launched for Mr Assange amid fears that the WikiLeaks founder is under ‘increasingly serious threat’.

The Courage Foundation, which offers legal support for whistleblowers and journalists, said Mr Assange had become ‘isolated’ inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, with ‘severe restrictions’ on his communications and visitors.

January 23: Lawyers for Mr Assange say they are taking action aimed at making President Donald Trump’s administration reveal charges ‘secretly filed’ against the WikiLeaks founder.

April 5: WikiLeaks tweets that a high level source within the Ecuadorian state has told them Mr Assange will be expelled from the embassy within ‘hours or days’.

A senior Ecuadorian official says no decision has been made to remove him from the London building.

April 11: Mr Assange has his diplomatic asylum revoked by Ecuador. Rafael Correa, who was Ecuadorian president when Assange was granted asylum, strongly condemns his successor’s decision, calling him a ‘traitor’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk