WikiLeaks’ Assange faces Arrest
British police stood poised Wednesday to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should he step out of Ecuador’s London embassy — but authorities conceded he is beyond their grasp as long as he stays inside.
Assange, who faces questioning about alleged sex crimes in Sweden, says he is seeking political asylum at the South American nation’s diplomatic mission.
Police said that he had violated the terms of his bail, which include an overnight curfew, and “is now subject to arrest.” Police officers were stationed outside the Edwardian apartment block in the tony Knightsbridge district that houses the embassy, along with a small group of pro-Assange protesters waving “Free Assange” placards.
Officials at the embassy declined to give an update on the situation Wednesday. Assange supporter Gavin Macfadyen, of the Center for Investigative Journalism at London’s City University, emerged from the embassy to say Assange was meeting with his lawyers and was “in very good humour.”
The Foreign Office said as long as Assange remains inside, he is “beyond the reach of police.”
He has been under house arrest in Britain since December 2010. Assange has maintained his innocence and claims the allegations against him are politically motivated. He fears that if he is extradited to Sweden, authorities there could hand him over to the United States, where he then could be prosecuted for his role in the leaking of classified documents.
Sources: CNN, Montreal Gazette, Forbes (Image)