Julian Assange faces court in London after the US charges him with hacking hundreds of thousands of classified documents – hours after police dragged him out of Ecuadorian Embassy

Thursday, April 11, 2019
By Paul Martin

Wikileaks founder dragged out of Ecuadorian Embassy in handcuffs by a large group of police officers today
Ecuador said its decision came after ‘repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols’
His lawyer said arrest was ‘not just for breach of bail conditions but also in relation to US extradition request’
He has not left embassy since 2012, when he was offered refuge from allegations of sexual assault in Sweden
Assange has always feared extradition to the US, where he is wanted for leak of highly-classified documents
Was revealed in 2018 Assange had been secretly indicted by the US Justice Department on unknown charges
The 47-year-old currently in custody and set to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court ‘as soon as possible’

11 April 2019

Julian Assange has appeared in a British court today after being hauled out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London after a seven-year stay following an extradition request by the US.

The Wikileaks founder was arrested by British police officers on behalf of the US to answer a charge of conspiring with American whistleblower Chelsea Manning ‘to break a password to a classified government computer’ in 2010.

According to court documents unsealed today, the charge relates to Assange’s alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and pleaded not guilty to a further charge of failing to surrender following an extradition order from Sweden in 2011, which related to rape allegations made the year before.

Assange, sporting a scruffy beard and unkempt hair, was dragged out of the embassy this morning in handcuffs by a group of seven men as his stunned supporters watched on as he screamed out ‘the UK must resist’.

It comes after Ecuador dramatically withdrew Assange’s asylum status after seven years, blaming the Australian’s ‘discourteous and aggressive behaviour’ in continuing to work with Wikileaks while housed at the embassy.

Assange, 47, has always feared extradition to the US, where his lawyers have claimed he could face the death penalty for the mass leaking of highly-classified documents through Wikileaks.

In a statement today, Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno accused Assange of violating the terms of his asylum by ‘interfering in internal affairs of other states’ as well as ‘blocking security cameras’ and ‘mistreating guards’.

The arrest came just 24 hours after Wikileaks accused Ecuador of an ‘extensive spying operation’, adding that it assumed intel had been handed over to the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Assange, who has overseen the publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through Wikileaks, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court a few hours after his was brought into custody by police.

News of his arrest was praised by Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who said ‘no one was above the law’, while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added Assange was ‘no hero’ and claimed he had ‘hidden from the truth for years’.

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