For the past seven years, Wikileak’s Julian Assange has been on the run. The 47-year-old sought asylum with any country that would take him after he was charged with sexual assault in December 2010. In 2012, he was granted asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he stayed until he was arrested today by British police after his asylum was revoked.
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The United States wasted little time, charging him immediately with conspiracy after he aided former Army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning, according to Fox News.
Prosecutors for the case argued that Assange was not just the recipient of classified materials but that he actively pushed Manning to gather the material. A 2010 indictment claimed he “agreed to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on United States Defense Department computers.”
“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.’”
The Daily Mail reported that Assange faces a maximum of five years in prison if convicted. Footage of Assange being literally dragged away by British police officers shows Assange with a large white beard. He can be heard yelling, “You must resist. You can resist,” as he was carried into a police van.
Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno opted to remove his asylum status early Thursday morning, stating Assange was guilty of “repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol.” Moreno indicated that he had made a “sovereign decision.”
“Today I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable,” Moreno said on Twitter.
Barry J. Pollack, an attorney for Assange, expressed his dismay at the situation. “It is bitterly disappointing that a country would allow someone to whom it has extended citizenship and asylum to be arrested in its embassy. First and foremost, we hope that the UK will now give Mr. Assange access to proper health care, which he has been denied for seven years.”
Assange is expected to be extradited to the United States and then possibly to Sweden to stand trial for the various charges against him.