The police in London have arrested Julian Assange following his removal from the Ecuadorian embassy where he had been taking refuge on asylum grounds since 2012.
The WikiLeaks’ founder was wheeled out of the embassy by the police and taken into custody in Central London on Thursday morning. He could be heard pleading “the UK must resist… this attempt by the Trump administration,” as he was being dragged out.
He is expected to be presented at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, where legal issues surrounding his run-in with countries across the world would be heard.
The United States has been on Mr Assange’s trail for years, following a leak of massive U.S. diplomatic cables that exposed how the country had been conducting its diplomacy across the world. The U.S. said Mr Assange threatened its citizens and national security by leaking sensitive documents.
The freedom of information rights activist has been praised as advancing investigative journalism that holds authorities to account, while critics said he went too far by disclosing details that were not necessarily meant for public knowledge.
The U.S. will seek his extradition without delay, reports said, but the final decision would be left to the British courts. Media reports said the British government agreed with Ecuador not to extradite Mr Assange to countries with death penalty after revocation of his asylum.
Ecuadorian authorities warned last October that Mr Assange should stop allowing his cat to stray and should also avoid political interference using the embassy’s Internet connection.
The rules were imposed following claims Mr Assange interfered with the affairs of other states, blocked security cameras and mistreated guards and even accessed the security files of the embassy without permission.