WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Peter NichollsFile Photo/ WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks arrested in London

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks has been arrested by police in London. An Australian born computer programmer, Assange was taking political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. While several sources are claiming the arrest was made possible because Assange left the Embassy premises, WikiLeaks maintains ‘the Ecuadorian Ambassador invited the police into the Embassy’.


 

Assange who founded WikiLeaks in 2006 is wanted by the United States for sharing confidential state information over the web.  He was also wanted by Sweden on sexual assault and rape allegations (later dropped). In 2010, his site came to international attention after publishing a series of leaks provided by Chelsea Manning, an American soldier turned whistleblower. These leaks included the Collateral Murder Video,  a series of air-to-ground heli attacks by US soldiers during the Iraqi insurgency, and the Afghanistan and Iraq war logs – all damning the United States’ military tactics, and many highlighting their atrocities during and off wartime. The United States subsequently launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks, and asked other nations to help them.

In 2010, he handed himself to UK police but was released on bail. After his challenge to the extradition proceedings was unsuccessful, he breached bail and took political refuge at the Embassy of Ecuador in London. He was offered an Ecuadorian citizenship in 2017.

In 2016, Assange also leaked a trove of emails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. United States investigators have said the system were hacked by Russian agents, but Assange insisted he did not get the emails from Russia.

WikiLeaks believe the US will be successful in getting an extradition – where he could be facing a possible life sentence for espionage.

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