WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has been taken into custody in central London, the U.K. Metropolitan Police confirmed in a tweet on Thursday.
“Julian Assange, 47, has today, Thursday 11 April, been arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at the Embassy of Ecuador,” police said.
“He has been taken into custody at a central London police station where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as is possible,” the police further added.
U.K. Home Minister Sajid Javid confirmed the news on Twitter. “Nearly 7yrs after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK. I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation & @metpoliceuk for its professionalism. No one is above the law,” Javid said.
WikiLeaks in its response to the arrest accused Ecuador of “illegally” terminating Assange’s “political asylum in violation of international law.”
“Julian Assange did not ‘walk out of the embassy’. The Ecuadorian ambassador invited British police into the embassy and he was immediately arrested,” WikiLeaks said in a tweet.
Assange first sought asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case. In 2017, Swedish prosecutors dropped their preliminary investigation into the allegations which brought an end to a seven-year legal battle.