WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested at the Ecuadorean embassy in London for allegedly breaching bail at London embassy where he took refuge for seven years, reports said on Thursday. Assange, who was facing sexual assault allegations against him in Sweden, had been granted refuge in the United Kingdom by Ecuador at its mission since 2012. The political asylum was granted to Assange by Ecuador’s former President Rafael Correa as the WikiLeaks founder faced potential extradition to the US, and President Lenin Moreno stated he would maintain the same policy.
Assange had claimed that if he was extradited to Sweden, he might be arrested by the US and face charges relating to WikiLeaks’s publication of hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables.
Earlier, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno had urged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange not to intervene in the country’s politics. The relationship between Assange and his hosts had soured over the years. Reports said Assange’s internet connection was snapped and he was asked not to meet visitors in March 2019.
The Ecuadorean president had reportedly said that Assange violated the conditions of his asylum in the country’s London embassy on several occasions. Late last month, the Ecuadorean Minister Andrés Michelena told CNN Español that the INA papers put out by WikiLeaks was a conspiracy to oust Moreno hatched by Assange, former Ecuador President Correa and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
According to WikiLeaks, Moreno and his associates are said to have laundered money via offshore company INA Investment Corp set up by Moreno’s brother, a scandal reported by La Fuente newspaper. The New York Times had also reported that Moreno tried to exchange Assange for US debt relief, said WikiLeaks in a tweet on March 26 which seemed to have invited Moreno’s party to move a resolution in the Ecuadorean parliament asking the country’s foreign ministry to act against Assange over the INA papers leak in national interest.
The US is seeking to try Assange for espionage after WikiLeaks published thousands of confidential American documents in 2010. He was also being sought by Sweden for allegations of sexual assault but the Swedish prosecutor-general abandoned the case on May 19.