Julian Assange arrested by British police at Ecuadorean embassy

Julian Assange arrested by British police at Ecuadorean embassy

LONDON- Reuters
Julian Assange arrested by British police at Ecuadorean embassy

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

Police said they arrested Assange after being "invited into the embassy by the Ambassador, following the Ecuadorean government's withdrawal of asylum."

Assange was convicted on April 11 by a London court of skipping bail in 2012 after an extradition order to Sweden over an allegation of rape.

Assange, who pleaded not guilty, will be sentenced a later date when he will face a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison for the offence.

Assange took refuge in Ecuador's London embassy in 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where authorities wanted to question him as part of a sexual assault investigation. That probe was later dropped, but Assange fears he could be extradited to face charges in the United States, where federal prosecutors are investigating WikiLeaks.

In the meantime, U.S. prosecutors announced charges on Thursday against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, accusing him of conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to gain access to a government computer as part of one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history.

Assange's relationship with his hosts collapsed after Ecuador accused him of leaking information about President Lenin Moreno's personal life. Moreno had previously said Assange has violated the terms of his asylum.

Moreno said that he had asked Britain to guarantee that Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face torture or the death penalty.

"The British government has confirmed it in writing, in accordance with its own rules," Moreno said.

WikiLeaks said Ecuador had illegally terminated Assange's political asylum in violation of international law.

To some, Assange is a hero for exposing what supporters cast as abuse of power by modern states and for championing free speech. But to others, he is a dangerous rebel who has undermined the security of the United States.

Assange, custody, Ecuador