Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted: “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.”
Assange, 47, who has spent almost seven years at the embassy after seeking refuge there to avoid extradition to Sweden, was detained after the Ecuadorian government withdrew his asylum, Scotland Yard said.
He was held on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 June 2012 when he failed to surrender to the court.
Scotland Yard 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 MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) 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.”
Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno said on Twitter: “In a sovereign decision Ecuador withdrew the asylum status to Julian Assange after his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols.”
But WikiLeaks said he had acted illegally in terminating Assange’s political asylum “in violation of international law”.
His arrest comes a day after Wikileaks accused the Ecuadorean Government of an “extensive spying operation” against Assange.
WikiLeaks claims meetings with lawyers and a doctor inside the embassy over the past year were secretly filmed.
Assange had refused to leave the embassy, claiming he would be extradited to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he did so.