Assange is facing extradition to the United States over his role in the leaks revealing war crimes related to U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been charged with "computer hacking conspiracy" in the United States, the country's justice department said Thursday hours after he was arrested by British police in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he had been seeking asylum since 2012.
U.S. prosecutors filed conspiracy charges against Assange for trying to access a U.S. government computers containing classified information in 2010, along with former military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
Assange faces a maximum prison sentence of five years, the Justice Department said in a statement. The founder of WikiLeaks was arrested on Thursday by British police and evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy, after the South American country abruptly ended seven years of asylum, in a decision that his followers described as illegal.
All times are in ET.
UPDATE 20:45 p.m.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jose Valencia, defended the position of President Lenin Moreno saying that "Ecuador has complied with International standards and international law" and that the country has "Requested [to the British government] that Assange not only not face the death penalty, but not face torture or abuse if he is extradited."
UPDATE 12:50 p.m.
Swedish prosecutors said they have filed a request to re-open an alleged rape case against Assange.
"Following today's media reports that Julian Assange has been arrested in London, the legal counsel in Sweden has requested that the Swedish preliminary investigation regarding rape be reopened,” the prosecutors said.
He was accused of rape by a Swedish woman but the case was dropped in 2017.
UPDATE 12:45 p.m.
Lawmakers of Ecuador's National Assembly attend a meeting with placards saying “We are all Assange.”
UPDATE 12:40 p.m.
The U.K. police confirmed Thursday that Assange was arrested “on behalf of the United States authorities,” according to Yahoo news.
UPDATE 12:30 p.m.
Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe Research released a statement saying, “Amnesty International calls on the UK to refuse to extradite or send in any other manner Julian Assange to the USA where there is a very real risk that he could face human rights violations, including detention conditions that would violate the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment and an unfair trial followed by possible execution, due to his work with WikiLeaks.”
UPDATE 12:25 p.m.
The Foreign Minister of Ecuador Jose Valencia Amores said at the National Assembly that they have assurances from the U.K. government that Assange will not be extradited to the United States.
UPDATE 12:20 p.m.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin told CNN about Assange’s arrest: "We're going to extradite him. It will be really good to get him back on United States soil. So now he's our property and we can get the facts and truth from him."
UPDATE 12:15 p.m.
Ecuador's former President Rafel Correa said, "It’s incredible. We cannot imagine something like this. It’s against international law; it’s against the institution of asylum; it’s against the Ecuadorian constitution, especially because since last year, Julian Assange has had Ecuadorian citizenship."
“It’s the biggest betrayal perhaps in Latin American history," Correa said.
UPDATE 12:05 p.m.
United States President Donald Trump said, “I know nothing about Wikileaks,” according to a White House pool report. “It’s not my thing.”
However, during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump highly praised WikiLeaks when it's reporting on leaks served in his favor.
The Citizen Revolution movement rejected the recent information revealed by the Interior Minister which accused Ecuador’s Former Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño of helping Russian hackers in Ecuador.
UPDATE 11:45 a.m.
Glenn Greenwald, a journalist from the U.S. who published intelligence documents of the U.S. and U.K. disclosed by Edward Snowden, said corporate U.S. journalists hate Assange because of his bold act of going against U.S. government and its security agencies and publish something which had a worldwide impact.
Many corporate US journalists hate Assange for 2 key reasons: 1) professional jealousy: he published stories of massive global impact they've never come close to; 2) he is adversarial to the US Govt & its security state agencies while they are supporters & servants of them: https://t.co/dhhIRyVFkr— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 11, 2019
UPDATE 11:10 a.m.
The indictment against Assange "contains the same words typically seen in Espionage Act charge. Prosecutors are clearly accusing Assange of aiding and abetting espionage, but they're trying to do it within charge for computer crime."
Here's section from Count One of indictment against Julian Assange. The language contains the same words typically seen in Espionage Act charge. Prosecutors are clearly accusing Assange of aiding and abetting espionage, but they're trying to do it within charge for computer crime pic.twitter.com/eNdk4aGKaH— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) April 11, 2019
UPDATE 10:40 a.m.
Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor in chief of Wikileaks and Julian Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson says Assange intends to fight U.S. extradition request.
UPDATE 10:35 a.m.
Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary said, “On this side of the house, we want to make the point that the reason we are debating Julian Assange this afternoon... is entirely to do with the whistleblowing activities of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
It is this whistleblowing activity into illegal wars, mass murder, murder of civilians and corruption on a grand scale that has put Julian Assange in the crosshairs of the US administration… Julian Assange is not being pursued to protect US national security, he is being pursued because he has exposed wrongdoing by US administrations and their military forces.”
UPDATE 10:30 a.m.
Sajid Javid, the U.K. Home Secretary said: “Ecuador’s actions recognize that the UK criminal justice system is one in which rights are protected and in which, contrary to what Mr. Assange and his supporters claim, he and his legitimate interests will be protected.”
UPDATE 10:25 a.m.
Assange's lawyer and barrister Jennifer Robinson during the press conference at Westminster magistrates court said, "He wants to thank all of his supporters and he said I told you so".
UPDATE 10:20 a.m.
The Centre for Investigative Journalism brought out a statement saying that an attack on Assange "is an attack on all of us."
"Wikileaks material from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere has become a unique, invaluable resource for investigative journalists and scholars around the world," the statement from CIJ said.
.@Wikileaks is a publisher. Charges now brought in connection with its material, or any attempt to extradite #Assange to the United States for prosecution under the deeply flawed cudgel of the Espionage Act 1917, is an attack on all of us. CIJ Statement https://t.co/UKE2OihVow— CIJ (@cijournalism) April 11, 2019
UPDATE 10:15 a.m.
Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief in a press conference demanded the U.K. government's assurance that Assange will not be extradited to the U.S.
LIVE | # WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson and UK lawyer for Assange Jennifer Robinson give a press conference: "The UK government has to make full assurance that a journalist will never be extradited to the US. This is journalism. It's called consipiracy." #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/HFohzsbqBD— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) April 11, 2019
UPDATE 10:10 a.m.
Edward Snowden condemned the arrest of Assange and called the charges against him shockingly weak.
The weakness of the US charge against Assange is shocking. The allegation he tried (and failed?) to help crack a password during their world-famous reporting has been public for nearly a decade: it is the count Obama's DOJ refused to charge, saying it endangered journalism. https://t.co/xdTQ8xauB0— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 11, 2019
UPDATE 10:05 a.m.
Ecuador’s Former Foreign Minister Guillaume Long issued a statement Thursday condemning the arrest of Julian Assange.
“The surrender of Julian Assange, dragged by the British police after entering our diplomatic mission to remove it, is a national shame and a historical error that will leave a deep mark on Ecuador for a long time,” Long said.
#FreeAssange | “The surrender of #JulianAssange, dragged by the British police after entering our diplomatic mission to remove it, is a #nationalshame and a #historicalerror that will leave a deep mark on #Ecuador for a long time,” #GuillaumeLong said.https://t.co/CUAN0PQy4k— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) April 11, 2019
UPDATE 10:00 a.m.
After afternoon hearing, the WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said, "Anyone who wants the press to be free should consider the implications of this case. If they will extradite a journalist to the US then no journalist will be safe. This must stop. This must end.
UPDATE 9:50 a.m.
On April 4, WikiLeaks said Assange would be expelled from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, England within "hours to days." The allegation was denied by Ecuadorean authorities at that time.
UPDATE 9:49 a.m.
Bolivian President Evo Morales condemning the arrest of Assange, wrote on Twitter, “We strongly condemn the detention of Julian Assange and the violation of freedom of speech. Our solidarity with this brother who is persecuted by the US government for revealing its human rights violations, murders of civilians and diplomatic espionage.”
Condenamos enérgicamente la detención de #JulianAssange y la violación a la libertad de expresión. Nuestra solidaridad con este hermano que es perseguido por el gobierno de #EEUU por revelar sus violaciones a los derechos humanos, asesinatos de civiles y espionaje diplomático.— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) April 11, 2019
UPDATE 9:40 a.m.
The arrest of Assange prompted an international outcry. Several legal experts, human rights activists, and several governments decried the arrest of their WikiLeaks co-founder.
UPDATE 9:30 a.m.
A Downing Street spokesperson said, “There has been a dialogue with Ecuadorean government from the onset. The decision to revoke asylum was one for them entirely. They have set that out.”
The spokeswoman also said that the government and prime minister was already aware of the decision of the Ecuadorean government which led to his arrest Thursday, The Guardian reported.
UPDATE 9:20 a.m.
Judge Michael Snow said Assange will face another hearing by video link on May 2 according to a report by The Guardian. He also said that the accusation that Assange did not have the chance of fair hearing was "laughable."
“His assertion that he has had not had a fair hearing is laughable. And his behavior is that of a narcissist who cannot get past his own self-interest," the judge said.
UPDATE 9:20 a.m.
Julian Assange is found guilty of skipping bail by UK judge. He will be sentenced in Crown Court, where the maximum sentence is 12 months.
UPDATE 9:15 a.m.
Judge Michael Snow says Assange has to appear again on the extradition matter on June 12th.
UPDATE 8:45 a.m.
Assange faces a maximum prison sentence of five years, the Justice Department said in a statement.
UPDATE 8:40 a.m.
Julian Assange’s lawyer said during a press conference, “Julian Assange is not a hacker, he is a journalist like you. These are the consequences of publishing real information. We are not aware of the final resolution pertaining to the asylum in order to execute an action. The British police entered before the embassy opened its doors and Assange was taken."
UPDATE 8:25 a.m.
Ecuador’s foreign minister Jose Valencia, during the same press conference, said that Assange’s Ecuadorean citizenship has been suspended because of “innumerable problems, breaches of international accords” and his “interference in external matters.”
Assange was granted Ecuadorean citizenship in 2017.
UPDATE 8:20 a.m.
Ecuador’s interior minister, Maria Paula Romo during a press conference told that a person with links to Wikileaks has been detained in Ecuador.
The person allegedly worked with Ricardo Patiño, the former foreign minister and attempted to “destabilize” the government. Patiño was the one to grant Assange assyñum in 2012 and was a close confidante of former President Rafael Correa.