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UK police arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after Ecuador pulls his asylum status


He had been staying in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012

Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Police in England have arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Thursday after Ecuador revoked his asylum status.

Here's what we know

Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador in 2012, following an extradition request by Sweden where he was wanted on rape charges. This extradition request has since been rescinded, although Swedish prosecutors have not officially closed this case.

The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted Assange, according to a DOJ news release from Thursday.

"Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications," the news release said.

London police have had a longstanding policy of arresting Assange if he ever left the embassy. After his asylum status was revoked, they were able to enter the embassy and arrest him.

The London Metropolitan Police said in a news release that Assange has been "arrested on behalf of the United States."

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said that during his time in the embassy, Assange had been "discourteous and aggressive," had "violated the norm of not intervening in the internal affairs of other states," had installed "distortion equipment," and had "mistreated guards."

U.K. Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted that Assange was in custody, adding, "No one is above the law."

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked classified data, decried Assange's arrest by "the UK's secret police," calling it "a dark moment for press freedom." Of course, the police who arrested Snowden belonged not to some secretive outfit, but to the London Metropolitan Police.

Snowden himself is current living in Moscow where he has been granted asylum from the U.S. government, which wants to arrest him for leaking classified material.

Assange's WikiLeaks declared on Twitter, "Ecuador has illigally [sic] terminated Assange political asylum in violation of international law."

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