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Home > Uncategorised > UK: Julian Assange ’further arrested’ on behalf of the US after extradition (...)

UK: Julian Assange ’further arrested’ on behalf of the US after extradition request,

Extradition request from US confirmed

Thursday 11 April 2019, by siawi3

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/media/live/2019/apr/11/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-arrested-at-the-ecuadorean-embassy-live-updates

11.04.19

Julian Assange ’further arrested’ on behalf of the US after extradition request, police say – live updates

Assange arrested following the withdrawal of asylum by the Ecuadorian government

Key dates in the WikiLeaks founder’s case
The Guardian view on Assange: it would be wrong to extradite him
Full story: Assange arrested after taking refuge for seven years

15m ago 12:52

Swedish Chief prosecutor Ingrid Isgren leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, in November 2016. Photograph: Hannah Mckay/EPA

24m ago 12:43

David Crouch

Sweden’s chief prosecutor, Ingrid Isgren, has issued this statement: “This is news to us too, so we have not been able to take a position on the information that is now available. We also do not know why he is under arrest. We are following the developments.”

A preliminary investigation can be resumed as long as the suspected crime is not subject to a statute of limitation, the prosecutor added. In this case, the suspected crime of rape would be subject to a statute of limitation in mid-August 2020.

The prosecutor declined to make any further comments.

Updated at 12.58pm BST

27m ago 12:39

Rafael Correa, who was Ecuadorian president when Assange was granted asylum, has condemned his successor’s decision.

He tweeted that Lenin Moreno was the “greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history”.

29m ago 12:39

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32m ago 12:36
Extradition request from US confirmed

Scotland Yard has confirmed that Assange was arrested on behalf of the US after receiving a request for his extradition.

In a statement it said:

Julian Assange, 47, (03.07.71) has today, Thursday 11 April, been further arrested on behalf of the United States authorities, at 10:53hrs after his arrival at a central London police station. This is an extradition warrant under Section 73 of the Extradition Act. He will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as possible.

36m ago 12:32

Jim Waterson

The dramatic footage of a white-bearded Julian Assange being carried out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London by British police officers was captured by a camera operator from the news agency Ruptly, a subsidiary of the Russian government-backed news service RT.

The Berlin-based agency, which has carved out a niche in live-streaming events that others ignore, such as protests and public disorder, has maintained a 24-hour watch on the embassy since 5 April according to Laura Lucchini, the head of Ruptly’s newsroom.

Embarrassingly, British television stations are now having to rely on footage from a Russian government-backed news organisation to cover an event which took place on their own backyard in central London.

Multiple sources at UK broadcasters suggested there had been a pool agreement – where the BBC, ITN and Sky News take turns to provide a camera outside the embassy and agree to share any footage – from 5 April onwards. However, this was abandoned at the weekend when news editors concluded Assange would not be leaving imminently, meaning British broadcasters failed to capture the key moment.

Updated at 12.43pm BST

54m ago 12:20

Photo: Human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC at Westminster Magistrates court when Assange appealed for bail in 2010 Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

The barrister Geoffrey Robertson, one of Assange’s many lawyers, has dismissed the arrest as a “disgrace”.

Speaking to BBC News he said:

It is breach of international law. Ecuador will be blackballed from international society for doing this. You can’t give someone asylum for seven years and then hand them over, which is what Ecuador has done.

It is a cruel and astounding breach of faith on the part of the Ecuadorian government. They are keen to get loans from the United States and they have done the United States’ bidding.

What happens to Mr Assange? He’ll be held. He can apply for bail, but he will be accused of breaching his bail which is an offence of a lower order usually dealt with by a fine or by imprisonment for a few weeks.

That is not what he is worried about. In a way he is better off in prison than in the embassy where he has been denied medical treatment.

America is hellbent on putting him in prison for a very long time to deter those who publish material about the behaviour of its armed forces. America will assure the British government that he won’t face the death penalty.

The charges they want to extradite him on carry very long years in prison. Chelsea Manning was given 35 years in prison. The charges for Julian Assange add up to 45 years. That’s the not the death penalty, but it may in effect be the death penalty for someone of Mr Assange’s age and health problems.

I imagine the US will apply to extradite him because Mike Pompeo and John Bolton has said so. There will then be hearings in the British courts and no doubt on appeal, so it could take a couple of years. His case will be that America is behaving exorbitantly claiming to extradite a publisher who has published information of public importance.

Robertson added that the case threatens the freedom of the press.

If they get away with extraditing Julian Assange they could extradite Alan Rusbridger, and the editors and journalists from the Guardian, and put them inside in America for a very long time.

America has the first amendment which protects the New York Times, but the Trump administration will argue ... that the first amendment doesn’t apply to British or Australian journalists. This is massive threat to freedom of speech.

RT, previously known as Russia Today, has long been supportive of Assange and his associated causes, prompting suggestions that the news organisation could have received a tip about the impending arrest which enabled it to get the footage.

However, employees at Ruptly insist there is a more simple explanation: they were more committed to having a cameraman outside the building at all times than other broadcasters.

They now have a global scoop, with the potential to make substantial sums from licensing the footage around the world.

In the past, British police forces have been willing to quietly tip off the media about high-profile police raids or arrests – but this has changed followed the Cliff Richard case, which saw the BBC fly a helicopter over the singer’s house only for the investigation to end with no charges and an expensive lawsuit.

Updated at 12.41pm BST

39m ago 12:29

Peter Tatchell Photograph: Anna Gordon/The Guardian

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell accused Ecuador of failing to protect Assange.

“The decision of the Ecuadorean government to hand over Assange to the UK police is a clear violation of his Ecuadorean citizenship and asylum rights.

“Assange’s arrest will put him at risk of extradition to the US, where he will very likely face charges that could see him jailed for 30 or more years. A secret grand jury has been convened to prepare an indictment against Assange and key Trump officials have said that prosecuting Assange is a priority.

“Assange did not leak anything. He published the leaks of Chelsea Manning, as did the Guardian and New York Times. Why is he being signalled out?

“Assange published evidence of American war crimes. He’s a hero, not a criminal.

“The British government should refuse to do the bidding of the Trump administration. It should give public assurances that Assange will not be handed over the US authorities. His extradition to the US is not in the public interest.”

Updated at 12.48pm BST