U.S. charges Assange after London arrest ends seven years in Ecuador embassy

Vastavam Web: British police dragged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange out of Ecuador’s embassy on Thursday after his seven-year asylum was revoked, paving the way for his extradition to the United States for one of the biggest ever leaks of classified information. Hours after the frail-looking Assange, with white hair and a long beard, was carried head-first by at least seven men out of the London embassy and into a waiting police van, U.S. officials announced he had been charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

As he was being hauled out of the embassy in a dramatic scene shortly after 0900 GMT after Ecuador terminated his asylum, the Australian-born Assange was heard shouting, “This is unlawful, I’m not leaving.” Assange was carried out of the building – located behind the luxury department store Harrods – carrying a copy of Gore Vidal’s “History of The National Security State”, which he continued reading in court.

In Washington, the U.S. Justice Department said Assange was charged with conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to gain access to a government computer as part of a 2010 leak by WikiLeaks of hundreds of thousands of U.S. military reports about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and American diplomatic communications. Legal experts said more U.S. charges could be coming.

The indictment was made secretly in March 2018 and unsealed on Thursday. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted, with legal experts saying more charges were possible.