The eviction and arrest came about after the South American country revoked Assange’s asylum status.
According to the Washington Post:
“Ecuador, which took Assange in when he was facing a Swedish rape investigation in 2012, said it was rescinding asylum because he of his “discourteous and aggressive behavior” and for violating the terms of his asylum.“
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) April 11, 2019
Assange had not set foot outside Ecuador’s embassy since August of 2012 due to fears that if he left Ecuador’s protected diplomatic property he would be immediately arrested and extradited to the United States.
U.S. authorities have been seeking to arrest the publisher of WikiLeaks due to his involvement in publishing thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through his publication.
The London police said Assange was detained “on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court” and taken to a central London police station “where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as is possible.”
The police also reported that they were “invited into the embassy by the Ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.” Ecuador’s government said it had dropped it’s protection of Assange, “for repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol of coexistence.”
Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador in 2012 as he faced allegations of sex crimes in Sweden that he said were a guise to extradite him to the U.S. That case has been dropped, but he was still subject to arrest for dodging the warrant in the first place.
The arrest took place outside the embassy in London’s exclusive Knightsbridge neighborhood, the police confirmed.
The British government announced the development through Twitter. Jeremy Hunt, Britain’s foreign secretary, wrote:
“Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law. He has hidden from the truth for years.”
President Lenín Moreno said in a video statement:
“Ecuador has sovereignly decided to terminate the diplomatic asylum granted to Mr. Assange in 2012. The asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.”
Assange has been sought by U.S. prosecutors since 2010, when WikiLeaks published 250,000 diplomatic cables and hundreds of thousands of military documents from the Iraq War.
The Army private who had passed the material to WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning, was tried, convicted and served seven years of a 35-year prison term before having her sentence commuted by President Obama. She was arrested again last month for refusing to testify before a grand jury that had been called to investigate Assange.
The Trump administration reportedly plans to charge the WikiLeaks founder with such crimes as conspiracy, theft of government property and violating the U.S. Espionage Act.