Dozens of officers swarmed his hideout this morning and pulled him down the steps, as he fought against the arrest.
Now seen with a full white beard and hair, he had feared stepping off Ecuador’s diplomatic soil would see him arrested and extradited to the US for publishing thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables.
WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:
Julian Assange has been arrested after 2,487 days holed up – costing British taxpayers more than £10m
He went into hiding in August 2012 to avoid facing extradition to Sweden for sexual assault and rape allegations
Sweden dropped the charges in 2017 but Swedish accuser today called for case to be re-opened
Wanted in US for espionage and publication of sensitive government documents, and in UK for skipping bail in 2012
He fears he could face death penalty if extradited to US over WikiLeaks scandal
Ecuadorian President said Assange release dependent on not facing extradition to country with death penalty
Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan said ‘UK courts will decide’ his future
US State Department has not yet commented
Cops struggled to push him into a police van, as he screamed out and gestured with cuffed hands.
Assange’s lawyers have previously argued that he could face the death penalty if he was extradited to the US.
But Ecuadorian President Moreno said today Britain had confirmed it would not extradite Assange to a country that has the death sentence.
Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan today said Assange will face ‘justice in the proper way in the UK’ and it will be ‘for the courts’ to decide what happens next.
The US State Department has not commented on the arrest yet.
The actress wrote she was “in shock”, adding “he looks very bad” and claiming Assange’s arrest is “a diversion from your idiotic Brexit b*******”.
ASSANGE IN CUFFS
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.”
A Metropolitan Police statement 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 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.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who is due to make a statement in the House of Commons on the arrest today, 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.”
Yesterday, Fidel Narvaez, the former Consul of Ecuador to London, said: “The Ecuadorian embassy is not protecting Assange any more.
“It is doing everything possible to end the asylum.”
Last week reports surfaced that the South American nation is tiring of his presence in the embassy.
President Moreno said Assange does not have the right to “hack private accounts or phones” and cannot intervene in the politics of other countries, especially those that have friendly relations with Ecuador.
Blackmailers have allegedly threatened to reveal sex secrets about Assange’s life inside the embassy as part of a €3 million (£2.6 million) extortion plot.