WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Arrested at Ecuadorian Embassy, US Seeks Extradition

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
April 11, 2019World News
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WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Arrested at Ecuadorian Embassy, US Seeks Extradition
Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates court in London, England, on April 11, 2019. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

The moment Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London on April 11 was captured on camera.

A videographer with Ruptly, a service of state-owned Russia Today, was on hand to witness approximately nine police officers carry Assange out of the embassy and into a waiting police van.

Ecuador withdrew Assange’s Ecuadorian citizenship, which it granted last year, and expelled him from the embassy, allowing the police to arrest him inside.

Wikileaks said that Ecuador “illegally terminated Assange political asylum in violation of international law.”

After Assange was bundled away, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that he was arrested pursuant to the U.S./UK Extradition Treaty, in connection with a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

Assange allegedly engaged in a conspiracy with Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army. Officials said that Assange worked with Manning to crack a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network, which stores U.S. government classified documents and communications.

“Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks. Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a deceptive measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures,” the department stated.

“During the conspiracy, Manning and Assange engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning’s transmission of classified records to Assange. 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 department added.

julian assange arrested
Police carry WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London after he was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police and taken into custody on April 11, 2019. (@DailyDOOH/PA via AP)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen in a police van after was arrested by British police outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Britain on April 11, 2019. (Henry Nicholls/Reuters)
Julian Assange arrested
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen in a police van, after he was arrested by British police, in London, Britain on April 11, 2019. (Henry Nicholls/Reuters)
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange looks out from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London prior to speaking on May 19, 2017. (Matt Dunham, File/AP Photo)

Assange faces up to five years in prison if he is convicted.

Assange was also pictured arriving in a police vehicle to Westminster Magistrates Court shortly after being arrested.

Sporting a long white beard, Assange gave people a thumbs up and a V sign. He also was seen resting his chin in one hand with a thoughtful expression on his face and winking.

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A police vehicle parked outside the Ecuadorian Embassy, after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police and taken into custody in London on April 11, 2019. (John Stillwell/PA via AP)
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Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor of WikiLeaks, right, and barrister Jennifer Robinson speak to the media outside Westminster Magistrates Court where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was appearing in London on April 11, 2019. (Matt Dunham/AP Photo)
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Ecuador’s Minister of the Interior Paula Romo speaks regarding the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Quito, Ecuador, on April 11, 2019. (Dolores Ochoa/AP Photo)

Assange entered a not guilty plea in the court to a charge that he failed to surrender to custody under an order for his extradition to Sweden.

Assange faced sexual assault allegations in Sweden when he sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London 2012. The sexual assault charges have since been dropped, but a charge of skipping bail remained in place.

Judge Michael Snow quickly found Assange guilty and he faces a sentence of up to 12 months for the conviction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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