Ecuador ended asylum since Assange will “not be extradited to a country where he would face the death penalty.”
Officials arrested Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in London at the Ecuadorean Embassy after Ecuador withdrew the asylum it granted him in 2012. As police took him out, Assange screamed, “Resist this attempt by the Trump administration. The UK must resist.”
Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno said the country withdrew asylum over Assange’s “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols.”
Sweden wants Assange “for questioning on allegations of sexual assault made by two women in 2010 but sought refuge in the embassy in July 2012 after exhausting every legal avenue in his opposition to extradition.” The case in Sweden has dropped, but the lawyers involved said it has not gone away and can resume.
More from The London Times:
President Moreno of Ecuador, who was elected in 2017, said today that Britain had given a guarantee that Mr Assange would not be extradited to a country where he would face the death penalty, and that as a result he had been stripped of his asylum.
The news of Mr Assange’s arrest came after Wikileaks revealed the scale of surveillance within the embassy and claimed that blackmailers had obtained documents and video and audio footage.
Moreno slammed the accusations from Wikileaks. He also “singled out the recent release by WikiLeaks of information about the Vatican as evidence that Mr. Assange had continued to work with WikiLeaks to violate ‘the rule of nonintervention in the internal affairs of other states.’”
Rafael Correa, the Ecuadorian president when Assange received asylum, called Moreno the “greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history.”
America requested Assange’s extradition after police arrested him, but British police said they made the arrest “on behalf of US authorities.” Assange claimed for years that he faced “extradition to the US for leaking classified military and diplomatic communications, where he believes he will be tortured or face the death penalty.”
The Justice Department confirmed the extradition request “in connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified US government computer.” The Guardian has the official statement:
The indictment alleges that in March 2010, Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the US 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. Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks. Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a deceptive measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures.
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.”
Assange is charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison if convicted. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The extradition will be handled by the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
Assange will “appear at Westminster magistrates court later on Thursday.” He also faces a charge for jumping bail by the British courts.
The UK government applauded the arrest with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt stating that “Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law. He has hidden from the truth for years.”
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