Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and early Bitcoin advocate, has been arrested by London’s Metropolitan Police.
Mr Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London seven years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.
URGENT: Julian Assange has been arrested by UK police.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 11, 2019
The London Met said: “Julian Assange, 47, (03.07.71) has today, Thursday 11 April, been arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at the Embassy of Ecuador, Hans Crescent, SW1 on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court.”
Assange has long been known as one of the original founding members of the privacy-focused cypherpunk movement that gave rise to Bitcoin and subsequent other platforms to deliver on the promise of creating both unstoppable money and code.
It has been reported that he has now been taken into custody at a central London police station, where he will remain until being presented before Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as possible.
The MPS had a duty to execute the warrant on behalf of Westminster Magistrates’ Court and was invited into the embassy by the Ambassador following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.
There were suggestions over the past few days that his asylum would be withdrawn following the publication of a number of documents.
However, Ecuador’s Vice President, Otto Sonnenholzner, has even suggested that Assange could be prosecuted over what he described as a WikiLeaks “hack”, alluding to the rigid protocol that Ecuador has imposed on Assange to maintain a constant threat of expulsion.
As of now, Mr Assange will initially face UK legal proceedings but could be extradited to the US to stand trial over the WikiLeaks revelations.